Planning your options to pay for your cosmetic enhancement procedures. 

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Cosmetic surgery can increase confidence, improve employment prospects and provide important medically based assistance.  But many of us dismiss cosmetic procedures as an option because high price tags can prove so cost prohibitive. However, new research allows your wallet to breathe a sigh of relief! A little education about how we manage our money can help us learn to finance these procedures without leveraging the farm.

Although a line of credit through your bank is the most straightforward solution, allowing fewer limitations to funds and a more flexible payback schedule, many potential patients choose to explore alternative avenues, like consultations with their financial planner, lending programs like Medicard or treatment outside of major centres like Toronto, to find a payment plan that meets their individual needs.

Plan Ahead

“Because a cosmetic procedure not covered by OHIP is a discretionary expense, I would recommend a savings plan to my clients,” explains Jamey Morse, a certified financial planner with the Dominion Lending Centres.  “Treating the cost as discretionary, like a new car or a holiday, prevents the procedure from interfering with other more basic expenses, like mortgages or retirement funds,” explains Morse. “I work with clients interested in financing these procedures to create a budget to determine what they can cut back on to meet the financial needs of the procedure, then monitor their plan at intervals to make necessary adjustments so they can meet their goals.”  

Low-Cost Lending

A savings plan seem too slow but unconvinced that a line of credit will work for you?  Medical lending programs like Medicard offer financing that eliminates the wait.  Providing medical loans, they pay your health provider and allow you to reimburse them through convenient monthly payments.  Rules to remember? Your cost of borrowing starts at 9.95 per cent, determined by your credit history, and the longer the term, the lower the payment.  Besides the lower rates, the advantage of the longer term is that there are no prepayment penalties.  This means if you want to pay your loan off when you get your tax return next year, you can make low monthly payments until you have the cash in hand and you only pay the interest for the time you have the loan out. “We have been providing financing for medical procedures across Canada since 1996,” says Medicard president and CEO Ann Kaplan. “The financing is available for people who need or want a procedure but do not have the available cash.” She is quick to add, “That said, it may be fast and simple to get the financing through us, but it does not mean that someone should go into debt for more than they can afford. Before borrowing from anywhere, consider how the payments will affect you, weigh what is most important to you and make a decision from there.”

Journey’s End

Lastly, researching private and public clinics outside of major centres may assist you in getting the help you need without breaking the bank.  The Grace Clinic in Burlington, Ont., has been providing comprehensive cosmetic care for 12 years.  Their most popular procedures include breast augmentations, breast lifts, liposuction, tummy tucks, mommy makeovers, eye lifts and facelifts.  “One advantage people mention to us about our clinic is the private setting,” says Cybelle Singers, patient care coordinator at The Grace Clinic.  “Not being located in a busy medical building means less likelihood of running into friends, neighbours or colleagues.  Surgical procedures are provided  within our private clinic on John Street or at a private surgical operating centre in Burlington. Dr. Douglas Grace, MD, FRCS of The Grace Clinic also has operating privileges at Joseph Brant Hospital.” 

With regards to financing, Singers illustrates the methods typically accessed by their clients – lending alternatives to Medicard that can help clients reach goals with discretion:  “The lenders we work with are typically able to provide a preliminary approval over the phone.  This means a patient can learn if they qualify for a loan even before they come in for a consultation.  Also, they offer a lot of flexibility with the loans, allowing for early payouts without penalty, no down payments, borrowing as little as $1,000 and flexible repayment terms from six months to seven years.  This flexibility extends to offering a loan to cover only a portion of the costs.  If a patient has some funds towards their surgical fees, she can choose to borrow only a partial amount.” 

The Hidden Cost of Cutting Corners

Scrimping on important procedures can lead to lacklustre results at best and at worst be downright dangerous!  When considering cosmetic procedures, get referrals from trusted professionals and engage in thorough consultations before deciding on the professional team that’s right for you.

Beware of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has been used to raise funds for non-profit organizations, social good initiatives and small business ideas, but it’s also opened the door for some shady individuals when it comes to cosmetic surgery.  Sites like myfreeimplants.com take advantage of a woman’s desire to augment her breasts, altering the emphasis so that it becomes about contributors’ personal pleasure. You think you’re getting a free ride, but you never know where personal photos may end up! Other sites like peelpoints.com can raise money to finance plastic surgery, cosmetic dentistry, LASIK, orthodontics or even a spa visit or tanning package, but, in the process, it publicizes what may have originally been a private procedure.  There are lots of times when it’s great to be able to call on your close—and not-so-close—friends for a little help.  But when it comes to cosmetic surgery, you may be better off going it alone.