6 Ways to Pay for Weight-Loss Surgery Without Insurance

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

measuring tape, glove, and surgery tool

If you’ve been battling weight gain, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults in the U.S. have obesity. That extra weight can cause other health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Bariatric surgery can be a literal lifesaver if you have obesity, but it’s expensive, and not all insurance plans cover it. If you’re considering a procedure, here’s how to pay for bariatric surgery without insurance coverage.

How to pay for bariatric surgery without insurance

The cost of weight-loss surgery depends on a number of factors, including your location, the hospital, the surgeon’s fees, and the type of procedure. According to Obesity Coverage, a bariatric surgery information site, the average cost of lap-band surgery is $14,500, while gastric bypass costs an average of $23,000.

The price tag might be gulp-inducing to you, and that’s understandable; it’s more than some new cars cost. However, it can be well worth the investment. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery reported that weight-loss procedures could help prevent major health issues and extend your life span.

Bariatric surgery is one of the few cases where going into debt is a good idea because of what it can do for your health and happiness. Thankfully, there are six financing options available to help make the cost more manageable.

1. Secured medical loan

According to Bariatric Surgery Source, one common source of financing is a secured medical loan. A secured medical loan is a loan you guarantee with collateral, such as your home or car.

Depending on the value of your collateral, you can borrow up to the full cost of your procedure. Because you have to secure the loan with collateral, you often can qualify for lower interest rates than you would with other types of loans. Plus, you typically have as long as 10 years to repay the loan.

Most banks and credit unions offer secured medical loans, but you also can compare rates by using an online broker like MyMedicalLoan.com.

Before applying for a loan, make sure you can afford it. If you fall behind on your payments, the lender can seize your collateral.

2. Hospital payment plan

Depending on the hospital you choose for your surgery, you might qualify for a payment plan. Some hospitals allow you to spread out the cost of surgery over the course of several months or even years, often at low interest rates. To find out if your hospital offers payment plans, contact its billing department.

3. 401(k) loan

Although raiding your retirement fund isn’t ideal, it can make sense in some situations, such as for medical procedures. If you’re considering bariatric surgery, taking out a retirement plan loan can help you achieve your goals.

When you take out a 401(k) loan, you borrow money from yourself. You take out the desired amount, and then you make monthly payments on the loan with interest. With a 401(k) loan, you typically can borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of your vested account balance, whichever is less. You might have to pay set-up and maintenance fees too.

There are some downsides to consider before taking out a 401(k) loan. While the loan is in repayment, you lose out on account growth, which can end up costing you thousands over time. If you leave your job or get laid off, you have until the due date of your federal tax return to repay the loan; otherwise, you’ll have to pay taxes or penalties on the amount you borrowed.

4. CareCredit

CareCredit is a credit card you can use only for qualified medical expenses. If you can afford a repayment term of 24 months or less, you’ll pay no interest as long as you pay off the balance in full within the promotional period.

However, it’s important to read the fine print before paying with CareCredit. If you don’t pay off the balance during the promotional period, CareCredit will charge you interest from the original purchase date, so you’ll lose out on the 0% interest offer entirely.

You can opt for a repayment period as long as 60 months, but then the interest rate is similar to other credit cards.

5. Health savings account

If you have a high-deductible health insurance policy, you likely qualify for a health savings account (HSA). An HSA works like a personal savings account, but the funds can be used only for health-related expenses, such as bariatric surgery. As of 2018, you can contribute up to $3,450 per year to an HSA if you’re single.

An HSA can be a more cost-effective tool than a personal savings account. HSA contributions are taken out of your pretax paycheck, lowering your taxable income. Plus, any interest that accrues on the account is also tax-free, and if you use the money for eligible expenses, the withdrawals are tax-free too.

Unlike flexible spending accounts, HSA savings roll over to the next year if you don’t use the money. That’s why an HSA can be a useful way to save and pay for your surgery.

6. Personal loan

If you have good credit, taking out a low-interest personal loan might be a smart option. Unlike secured medical loans, personal loans typically don’t require collateral, so you don’t have to risk your home or other valuables.

Depending on your credit history and income, you can borrow anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000 and have up to seven years to pay it off. If you qualify for a low interest rate, a personal loan can be a cost-effective tool you can use to move forward with your weight-loss procedure.

However, applying for a personal loan makes sense only if you have good credit. Otherwise, you could get hit with interest rates as high as 35.00%, adding thousands to your surgery’s cost.

For example, pretend you took out $23,000 to pay for gastric bypass surgery and qualified for a five-year loan at 5.00% interest. Over the course of your repayment period, you’d pay back $26,042. By contrast, if you took out a $23,000 loan and qualified for a five-year loan at 35.00% interest, you’d pay back a staggering $48,977. Thanks to interest charges, you’d end up paying more than double the surgery’s cost.


If you decide to move forward, compare offers from personal loan lenders to ensure you get the best rates.

Preparing for your procedure

Undergoing weight-loss surgery is a huge decision. It can be an invaluable investment in yourself and your health. If you’ve been wondering how to pay for bariatric surgery without insurance, it’s important that you understand all your options so you don’t end up overwhelmed with debt.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.199% APR to 15.365% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.145% APR to 14.685% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of June 15, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.145% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.97% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply:SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
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6.15% – 15.37%1$5,000 - $100,000
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6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
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4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.