Cosmetic Surgery Today

Plastic Surgery News, Costs of Cosmetic Surgery and Elective Procedures Blog

Posts Tagged ‘patient financing’

Recent Recession Helped Reduce Costs of Cosmetic Surgery

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on April 2, 2010

As more Americans tightened up their wallets during the economic recession, plastic and cosmetic surgeons around the country took steps to generate more business by slashing prices on popular procedures, and running special offers month in, month out.

The LA Times recently reported on the trend of sale prices on tummy tucks, liposuction and facelifts throughout the country.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that the number of cosmetic procedures in the U.S. fell approximately 17 percent from 2008 to 2009. As fewer Americans scaled back on luxury expenses, plastic and cosmetic surgery became less of a priority for many. In order to stay in business, many plastic surgery centers unveiled deep discounts and patient financing programs to attract more patients. Others introduced less-invasive procedures, such as Botox and VelaShape, to their practice, so that patients could find a more affordable alternative to “tide them over” until they could afford a more extensive procedure.

Demand for less-invasive procedures including Botox, hyaluronic acid fillers, Thermage skin tightening treatments and body contouring procedures such as VelaSmooth and VelaShape was on the rise throughout 2009. Many patients also opted for chemical peels and microdermabrasion, in stead of the pricier laser skin resurfacing treatments, to improve their looks.

One of the key reasons why many Americans continued to pursue plastic surgery in the midst of the economic turmoil was to keep their jobs. For many aging men and women, maintaining a youthful look was a top priority in a competitive job market.

Patient financing plans continue to be an attractive option for those that cannot pay for their procedure upfront, or when the surgeon does not offer an in-office payment plan. Patient financing plans such as CareCredit allow the patient to obtain financing specifically for cosmetic procedures, and choose from several interest-free and low-interest payment plans depending on the doctor and type of procedure.

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UK’s NHS Covers Cosmetic Surgery Costs for Hundreds of Patients

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on June 24, 2009

j0390105Most cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures are not covered by health insurance in the United States, and fall under the ‘elective procedures’ category where the patient must pay for their surgery out of pocket, or pursue patient financing options.

In Great Britain, things are a little different.

The U.K’s National Health Service (NHS) is a government-owned health program that provides healthcare for UK citizens. This program covers the costs of almost all surgical procedures, and also pays for routine exams, check-ups and health-related emergencies. The NHS now pays for cosmetic surgery for select patients, reportedly spending £5.7 million so far for liposuction, breast reduction and rhinoplasty procedures.

According to Cosmetic Surgery Bible, the NHS has covered the costs of cosmetic surgery for over 2,000 patients. Doctors performing the surgeries explain that these procedures are only paid for when cosmetic surgery is needed for medical reasons. There are still rules – for example, a patient would not qualify for the paid surgery if they were suffering from low self-esteem, or if they had general complaints about their appearance – but those who are suffering from severe cases of body dysmorphic disorder, a situation where the person is experiencing extreme psychological distress and impaired social functioning because of their ‘defect’, cosmetic surgery may be covered by the NHS.

The NHS will continue to pay for certain procedures, and reviews each situation on a case by case basis before granting the funds for treatment. Patients who are denied full payment of their proposed treatment still have the option of paying for the surgery on their own, or applying for a personal loan or financing in order to cover the costs of the procedure.

The United States does not operate a program like the National Health Service of the UK, so all prospective patients must find ways to cover the costs. In some rare cases, health insurance plans will pay for bariatric (weight loss) surgery.

Posted in Cosmetic Procedures, Cosmetic Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery Trends, Plastic Surgery Financing | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Michigan Plastic Surgeon Offers Layaway Plan for Money-Strapped Patients

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on February 22, 2009

savingTummy tucks, liposuction and facial plastic surgery treatments were once at the top of the agenda for many people looking for ways to enhance their appearance.  However, these pricey procedures have become a low priority during the economic downturn; many people are simply saying ‘no’ to surgery in order to be more pennywise during the rough economic climate.

Doctors are hoping to entice frugal patients with layaway programs and financing options that help cover the costs of surgery.

Dr. Charles Mok, a cosmetic surgeon at Allure Medical Spa in Shelby Township, Michigan is one of several cosmetic surgeons to offer an exclusive layaway plan for patients.  This 100% interest-free program allows patients to make payments towards their procedure on their own schedule, and then have their procedure when all of their payments have been made.  If they decide to change their mind at any time before having the treatment, they can void the agreement and get a full refund.

The primary benefits of this layaway plan, or plastic surgery ‘savings’ plan, are that the prospective patient is only spending money that they actually have, and they have the freedom to void the contract if they need the cash for other expenses during the term of the agreement.  Dr. Mok explains that all the funds are put away in a safe and secure, non-interest bearing account and posted as credits to the patient’s file.  He also offers financing programs at his medical spa, but these are not always the best option for patients who want to get out of debt.

In addition to layaway plans or custom payment plans, many cosmetic and plastic surgeons still offer patient financing programs through CareCredit.  CareCredit works just like a credit card, and allows doctors to offer no-interest payment plans for cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures.  CareCredit accountholders can also use their credit line for cosmetic dentistry procedures, LASIK vision correction, and other elective surgery treatments where they are wholly responsible for the out-of-pocket expenses.

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Zero-Interest Financing Options Attract More Patients During Tough Economy

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on February 13, 2009

moneyAs the credit crunch continues and consumers wait to have what were once some of the most-sought after cosmetic procedures, doctors are finding ways to attract new patients. Doctors that offer zero-interest financing plans or affordable payment plans are finding it easier to get patients into the door for the latest treatment.

Zero-interest financing programs are offered by companies like CareCredit, which specialize in financing for cosmetic surgery, dentistry and different types of elective surgeries. With today’s high interest rates taking their toll on standard credit card lines, few consumers are likely to ‘just charge it’ for their procedure.  CareCredit works like a credit card, but offers significantly lower rates and other incentive programs for new members.  Doctors must decide which offers they can accept, and patients then have an option to select from different enrollment programs.

Tony Seymour, senior vice president of sales for CareCredit, explains how the company extends credit:

“We only want to lend money to people that we think have an above average chance to pay it back. The credit quality of the incoming applications of patients applying has fallen dramatically in the last year as more patients are squeezed by this economic cycle..those who gravitate towards no interest tend to be more financially savvy and lower credit risks. “(Source: Cosmetic Surgery Times)

Seymour also points out that many doctors can use this special offer as a powerful marketing tool.  Patients are much more likely to book their procedure if they are not worried about upfront costs.  CareCredit also offers extended payment plans up to 18 months or more for those who cannot pay off the entire balance during the speical offer period.  These options make it even easier for patients to settle in for their procedure,  regardless of the gloomy economic forecast.

Patient financing can be a viable alternative to paying for a procedure out-of-pocket or charging the fees to a credit card.  Some doctors require a minimum amount before processing (typically $300-$500), and CareCredit is now available at dentist offices, medical spas and even some LASIK centers.

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Beauty Layaway Plans on the Rise During Economic Recession

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on January 8, 2009

piggy-bankIf you thought layaway plans were just another convenience from the retail industry, think again.

Cosmetic and plastic surgeons around the country are now offering ‘beauty layaway’ plans to attract patients and fill up their appointment calendars.  The tough economic times are making people more conscientious about luxury spending, getting breast implants or liposuction aren’t the priority purchases they once used to be.  However, those on a tight budget might be able to get their pricey cosmetic treatments with less of an immediate impact on the pocketbook.

Scottsdale cosmetic surgeon Semone Rochlin is one of several doctors who is setting up installment plans and downpayment plans to help patients get the cosmetic surgery procedure they want sooner than later.  These plans do not necessarily involve a credit check, and patients may not even need to resort to patient financing programs; the financial plan is simply a type of ‘savings account’ that a patient can set up for their procedure and pay back in monthly installments.  This secures their treatment schedule, and also allows the physician to book up several partially-paid procedures with peace of mind. (Source: Arizona Daily Star)

The economic downturn has had a severe impact on the plastic and cosmetic surgery industry; national statistics show that demand for procedures decreased over 60 percent in the first half of 2008, and fewer consumers are turning to once-popular procedures such a liposuction, breast augmentation and facelift surgery.  However, there has been a significant demand for alternative procedures and more affordable treatments; many people are turning to the ‘liquid facelift’ to get rid of wrinkles without surgery, or settling for cellulite reduction procedures to help improve their figures.

Still, those who are confident that market conditions will improve in 2009 can secure their procedure appointments with a layaway plan without penalties, fees and interest charges associated with credit cards, personal loans or patient financing programs.

Posted in Beauty News, Cosmetic Surgery News, Cosmetic Surgery Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Foreigners Flock to the States for Latest Cosmetic Surgery Treatments

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on October 21, 2008

Medical Tourism to United States on the RiseThough many Americans are foregoing cosmetic surgery altogether during the economic downturn and weakened American dollar, plastic surgeons are opening their doors to foreign consumers who are ready to shell out the funds necessary for their next treatment.

Cosmetic Surgery Times reports that the U.S. dollar now has a much higher value against the Euro and British pound sterling, which means Europeans can track down lower-than-average rates on thousands of procedures on U.S. turf.

Attractive exchange rates are encouraging many consumers – especially from Great Britain –  to book a trip to the U.S. solely for their next nip tuck or ‘holiday surgery’.

Dr. Paul Lorenc,  plastic surgeon and assistant professor of plastic surgery at the New York University School of Medicine shares some insights on the recent market trends:

“There has definitely been an upswing in the last couple of years because it’s basically a bargain for them,” Dr. Lorenc says, adding that patients have come from regions ranging from Ireland and Europe to Japan, South America and Dubai. “If I had to pick one place from which I’ve seen the most patients, it would be Great Britain.”  (Source: Cosmetic Surgery Times)

Consumers in the United States are also heading overseas for treatments, but not to Europe.  Medspas and cosmetic surgery treatment centers in South America, India and Thailand offer low-priced treatments at a fraction of the U.S. price – often as little as 20 – 60 percent of the average rate.

Still, safety concerns about medical tourism keep many Americans at home and waiting for the economy to improve.  And for those who want to pursue their treatment regardless of the state of the economy, patient financing offers an attractive, albeit temporary, solution for managing the costs of procedures.

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More Patients Turn to Credit Cards to Support Cosmetic Surgery Habit

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on October 18, 2008

As consumers feel the pinch from the recent economic downturn, plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures are no longer the high priority purchases they once were.

Market analysts point out that many patients are turning to lower-priced elective surgery such as BOTOX injections to get rid of wrinkles instead of paying for a pricey face lift, and trying liposuction alternatives such as VelaShape to get rid of unwanted body fat to maintain their youthful look – and worry less about finances during the tough economic times.

Aesthetic Medicine News, a publication of The International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM) shares the latest insights in the cosmetic surgery market:

The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery said its members are reporting an increase in noninvasive procedures like Botox injections and laser resurfacing, which are cheaper than traditional surgery.

“They’re still willing to do the smaller lunchtime procedures … in the $300 to $500 range,” said Dr. Leonard Kim, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. “But more patients have asked if they can spread payments out.”

Patients can pay for their procedures with cash, credit card or obtain patient financing through companies such as CareCredit. CareCredit is the healthcare division of GE Money, and works with hundreds of plastic surgery centers, medical spas and cosmetic rejuvenation centers to offer interest-free financing for prospective patients.

Patient financing plans vary by location and facility, but in some cases, patients can cash in with as much as twelve months of interest-free financing.  Standard payment plans offer 3 to 6 months of interest-free purchases using the CareCredit card. Personal credit cards are another option for those who want to get their ‘lunchtime lipo’ fix and reduce the anxiety about immediate payments.

‘Just charge it’ may be the mantra for many cosmetic surgery patients in the oncoming months as the impact of the economic downturn continues to take its toll on consumer spending.

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Demand for Breast Implants and Liposuction Declines in Weak Economy

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on August 9, 2008

Cosmetic surgery procedures including breast augmentation, liposuction, and eyelift lift surgery ranked in the top five procedures last year, accounting for a portion of the $13.2 billion spent on cosmetic procedures in 2007.

Still, a weak economy in 2008 is discouraging many Americans from going under the knife; a number of plastic and cosmetic surgeons around the country are reporting a marked reduction in demand for breast implants and liposuction procedures, and more people are opting for BOTOX and other ‘affordable’ treatments to enhance their appearance instead.

American women are cutting back on breast enhancements, according to Allergan and Mentor, the country’s two breast-implant companies. Surgeries for Mentor implants were down in the quarter that ended June 27, the Santa Barbara-based company reported Thursday, July 31.

Irvine-based Allergan reported similar news on Wednesday, July 30. “In the U.S., it is pretty clear that the number of augmentation procedures has declined year-over-year,” Chairman David Pyott said about Allergan’s implant sales. (Source: OC Register)

The trends could be the result of less disposable income for the average household; rising costs of gas, food and other everyday expenses have caused many Americans to keep that wallet shut tight this year.

For those who still want to pursue breast augmentation or liposuction, finding a doctor that offers a discounted or competitive rate could make the procedure more affordable.

Patient financing is another option for those who aren’t quite ready to spare the extra expense this year.

Posted in Breast Implants, Cosmetic Surgery Trends, Liposuction | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »