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How to Pay For Surgery-Even If Your Insurance Company Won't

Jennifer Whitlock is a family practice nurse practitioner. She is the author of The Everything Post Weight Loss Surgery Cookbook, which is half weight loss surgery guide and half cookbook. She is a hospitalist, caring for patients who require hospitalization for their illnesses.

Updated May 20, 2014.

Paying for surgery out-of-pocket, commonly known as self-pay, can be a very expensive proposition. If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance will not pay for your surgery -- as is common with weight loss and plastic surgery -- there are ways to afford the health care you need, even if you must pay for the procedure yourself. While self-pay surgery is not ideal, it may be a more attractive option than life without surgery, which may mean living in pain or with an unhealthy condition.

Also, even if you have insurance you may need to explore self-pay options, since most insurance pays only a portion of the bill, leaving you to pay the rest.

If you have exhausted your options with your health insurance

and Medicare (if that is an option), it may be time to begin investigating alternative methods of financing. Keep in mind that all of the financing options require the funds to be repaid, unlike insurance. Be sure that the costs that you are financing include all of the expected expenses. including the surgeon’s bill, the cost of the surgical suite, anesthesia expenses, hospital care before and after surgery, labs, medications, x-rays and any testing ordered by your physician and visits required before and after the surgery.

In addition, be sure to establish what your payments will be after the surgery prior to having the procedure. You do not want to have a rude awakening when your first bill arrives and your interest rate or payment is substantially higher than you expected.

You will also need to plan for any contingencies, like complications, which may elevate the total cost of your care significantly.

If you need an extremely expensive surgery, such as an organ transplant, rather than a more standard surgery, find out more about how to pay for expensive surgery without going bankrupt .

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