Unless you're getting a breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, most health insurance companies won't cover the cost of breast implants — which means that you will need to pay for the entire surgery out of pocket.
The national average cost is $3,351 for the doctor's fees alone, according to a 2010 survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons — with the total cost coming in over $5,500. And if you live in a more expensive region of the country and are choosing a top-notch plastic surgeon, you can expect your costs to be significantly higher than that.
So how can you cover the cost of breast implants? Here are some options for financing breast augmentation that might suit your needs.
Save Up for Breast Implants
The smartest way to finance your breast implants is the simplest — wait until you have the cash in hand to cover the entire cost of breast implant surgery, then sign on the dotted line.
To help you find the extra money to save toward the cost of your breast implants, consider keeping a spending diary for a few weeks to see where your money is going and look for ways to cut back. Making simple cuts like brown bagging your lunch or forgoing the daily latte can net you thousands of dollars in the space of a year.
Consider using savings vehicles like CDs that offer higher interest rates than a standard savings account and charge penalties if you withdraw the money early to help encourage you to keep your hands off the cash.
Ask About Financing
Many plastic surgeons have gotten into the financing game, offering low-interest loans that allow you to get the breast augmentation without waiting for your savings to grow. Just be sure you read over any documentation thoroughly, and ask plenty of questions about payment due dates, terms and the percentage rate you'll pay so you know exactly what you're getting yourself into.
Use a Credit Card
Most plastic surgeons accept credit cards for payment. If you plan to go this route, be sure to look for credit card with a low interest rate and avoid making late payments, which can cause your interest rate to skyrocket. Some credit cards will offer low teaser rates (including zero-percent interest rates) for a short period of time — if you know you'll be able to pay off the entire surgery within that timeframe, these credit cards would be a great option for covering the cost of your breast implants.
Take Out a Personal Loan
Banks offer personal loans that can be used for virtually any purpose, including plastic surgery. Personal loans often have a fixed rate of interest charged on the balance, which can be lower than the interest rate on a standard credit card. Keep in mind that some banks will require that you offer collateral (an item of value, such as your home or car) to tie the loan to — if you default, your bank may be able to repossess your car or foreclose on your home. Again, look for the lowest possible interest rate if you choose to go this route.
Tap Into Your Home Equity
Some people utilize a home equity line of credit to pay for their breast augmentation. Going this route does offer some advantages — for instance, any interest you pay will be tax deductible when income tax time rolls around. But keep in mind that if you default on this loan, your bank may be able to foreclose on your home.
Also keep in mind that there may be additional costs associated with your breast implants, beyond the initial outlay for the breast augmentation surgery. If there are complications with your surgery that require hospitalization or additional surgeries, you may be on the hook for those as well. Health insurance companies also won't cover the recommended MRIs (every two years, starting three years after the implants were inserted) to check for leaks or ruptures in silicone breast implants. If your implants rupture or develop capsular contracture, you may have to pay for the surgery to have them removed as well.
After your initial breast augmentation is complete and paid off, consider saving aside a "rainy-day" fund, to help you with financing any additional surgeries you may need to deal with ruptures or other complications.