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Compare financing options for weight loss surgery

You don't have to put off your gastric bypass just because your insurance won't cover it.

Updated

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Weight loss surgery can help you improve your overall health and self-confidence. Not all types of surgery are covered by all insurance plans and even if they are, patients often need to meet specific requirements to qualify. Those who need less-common procedures are also generally out of luck.

When you've decided on surgery to gain control of your weight and health, there are several financing options that can make paying for it more affordable.

How much does weight loss surgery cost?

How much your surgery costs varies depending on the type of surgery you're interested in and whether your insurance provider will cover any part of it.

Most weight loss surgeries are a type of bariatric surgery (procedures that involve altering the digestive system). Cosmetic procedures like liposuction or a tummy tuck can also help you lose weight initially, though they might not allow you to keep it off.

You should always speak with a medical professional before deciding on any surgical procedure. Some weight loss procedures allow you to claim a Medicare rebate, but this will generally only cover a small portion of the overall cost.

Gastric bypass

Gastric bypass is a type of restrictive bariatric surgery that reduces or otherwise changes the size of your digestive system. In a gastric bypass, your stomach is divided into two pouches, one smaller than the other, with both connected to your intestines.

Ultimately, the surgery reduces the volume of food your stomach can hold and the calories (and nutrients) your body can absorb. It's typically reserved for patients with a BMI of 40 or higher.

  • Gastric bypass surgery typically costs from $4,000 to $6,000 with private health insurance or $16,000 to $18,000 without insurance.

Lap band

Lap band surgery, also called gastric lap band surgery or gastric band surgery, is a type of restrictive bariatric surgery. Less invasive than other options, this procedure places an adjustable band around an area near the top of your stomach to create a smaller section where food can enter.

Doctors suggest using a lap band in addition to a weight loss plan, because it likely won't reduce hunger and can be minimally effective if you don't also change your diet.

  • Lap band surgery typically costs from $2,500 to $5,500 with private health insurance or $10,000 to $16,000 without insurance.

Gastric sleeve

A gastric sleeve is a type of restrictive bariatric surgery that involves removing part of your stomach, sometimes as much as 80%. This surgery restricts the amount and types of food you can eat at once: like a gastric bypass, you aren't able to absorb as many nutrients as you would with a full-size stomach. It's also typically reserved for patients with a BMI of 40 or higher.

  • Gastric sleeve surgery typically costs from $4,000 to $6,000 with private health insurance or $16,000 to $18,000 without insurance.

Gastric balloon

In this restrictive bariatric procedure, a doctor inserts a balloon into your stomach through your mouth. Your surgeon then fills it with saline to reduce your food cravings. It's a less invasive alternative to bariatric surgery for patients with a lower BMI.

  • Gastric balloon procedures typically cost from $5,800, but are generally not covered by private health insurance.

Duodenal switch

Duodenal switch is a restrictive and malabsorptive bariatric surgery that generally combines a gastric sleeve and a gastric bypass. During this procedure, a surgeon removes a large portion of your stomach, leaving the smaller part of your stomach connected to the upper part of your intestines, called the duodenum.

Your surgeon will also alter your intestines to speed up the digestive process and reduce the number of calories your body absorbs. A duodenal switch is generally only recommended for people with a BMI of 50 or higher.

  • Duodenal switch procedures typically cost from $6,000 to $10,000 with private health insurance or $29,000 to $50,000 without insurance.

Restrictive vs malabsorptive procedures

When researching bariatric surgery, you might come across the terms restrictive and malabsorptive to describe specific procedures.

In short, restrictive refers to procedures that decrease the stomach's capacity to hold food, like gastric stapling or banding.

Malabsorptive surgery typically refers to rerouting the intestines to bypass a part of the small intestines, where fats, proteins and vitamins are absorbed. Fewer nutrients absorbed by your digestive system can mean faster weight loss, but it might also require lifetime supplements to keep your body healthy.

Speak to a medical professional before deciding on any medical procedure to make sure it fits your lifestyle and long-term goals.

Liposuction

Liposuction is a type of cosmetic surgery in which excess fat deposits are removed from your body. It can't treat weight-related health problems and experts recommend it for people within 10–15kgs of their healthy weight (or 24.9 BMI).

  • Liposuction typically costs from $2,500 to $8,000 per targeted area.

Other weight loss procedures

Other less conventional procedures can be more expensive, because insurance is less likely to cover part of it.

Vagal nerve blocking is a procedure that involves implanting a device in your body that controls your hunger through electrical signals sent to your brain. You could also consider aspiration, which involves the addition of a device that keeps your stomach from completely digesting food.

Can I use a personal loan to pay for weight loss surgery?

Yes, most personal loans can be used for any worthwhile purpose and this includes medical procedures. Weight loss surgeries can be very expensive even if you have private health insurance and a personal loan can help cover these costs. Some lenders even offer specific personal loans for medical purposes.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan

From 6.99% (fixed)
7.79%
$2,000
3 to 5 years
$575 ($275 for loans of below $5,000)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 25.69% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Apply for a loan up to $50,000 and repay your loan over 3 or 5 year terms.
Plenti Fixed Rate Personal Loan

From 6.49% (fixed)
6.84%
$2,001
3 to 5 years
From $149 to $599
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.49% p.a. and 11.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible loan with amounts from $2,001 and terms starting from 3 years. Interest and comparison rates calculated for a loan term of 5 years.
OurMoneyMarket Personal Loan

From 6.75% (fixed)
6.96%
$2,001
1 to 7 years
1.5–6% of your total loan amount
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.75% p.a. to 20.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A personalised loan from $2,001 to $75,000 that varies based on your credit history and financial situation.
Alex Personal Loan

From 6.95% (fixed)
6.95%
$2,100
6 months to 5 years
$0 (waived $295)
$0
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 6.95% p.a. to 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow between $2,100 and $30,000 from 6 months to 5 years. Benefit from no ongoing fees. Note: The establishment fee of $295 is waived for all applications until 31 October 2020. Terms & conditions apply.
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan (2-3 years)

From 6.99% (fixed)
6.99%
$5,000
2 to 3 years
from 0% to 5% (capped at $995)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 17.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan (5 years)

From 7.99% (fixed)
7.99%
$5,000
5 years
from 0% to 5% (capped at $995)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
Plenti Variable Rate Personal Loan

From 5.79% (variable)
6.78%
$2,001
1 to 3 years
From $149 to $599
$0
You'll receive a variable rate from 5.79% p.a and 11.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible loan with amounts from $2,001 and terms starting from 12 months. Benefit from transparent costs and a rate estimate before you apply.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed

From 9.99% (fixed)
10.88%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate between 9.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 10.88% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
Pepper Money No Fee Personal Loan

From 6.95% (fixed)
6.95%
$5,000
18 months to 7 years
$0
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.95% p.a. and 17.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $15,000 and use for a range of purposes. Pay no upfront, early repayment or ongoing fees.
Symple Loans Personal Loan

From 5.75% (variable)
6.47%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
from 0% to 5% of the loan amount
$10
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
Wisr Personal Loan

From 7.95% (fixed)
8.78%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$595 (Establishment Fee)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.95% p.a. and 19.45% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 that charges no fees for extra or early repayments. Keep in mind security is required in some cases.
Heritage Bank Fixed Personal Loan
7.99% (fixed)
8.62%
$5,000
1 to 5 years
$200
$5
Choose a fixed rate loan and receive a comparison rate of 8.62% p.a.
Fixed rate loans are available up to $100,000 on terms from 1 to 5 years.
CUA Unsecured Fixed Rate Personal Loan
9.89% (fixed)
10.14%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$175
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 9.89% p.a.
An unsecured loan from $5,000 with flexible repayments and no monthly fee.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Variable Rate

From 9.99% (variable)
10.88%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a variable rate between 9.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 10.88% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes. Benefit from fee-free additional repayments and a redraw facility. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
Latitude Personal Loan (Unsecured)

From 7.99% (fixed)
9.24%
$3,000
1 to 7 years
$250 (Loans under $5000 - $140)
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.99% p.a. and 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for what you need from $3,000 and use it for a range of purposes. Repay weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
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How else can I pay for weight loss surgery?

First, make absolutely sure you understand your insurance coverage for the type of surgery you need: many bariatric procedures are at least partially covered. You may find your insurance provider covers specific doctors and medical facilities for the procedure you're interested in.

Other financing options include:

  • Medical payment plans. Many hospitals and medical practices offer plans that allow patients to pay their bills in instalments, rather than all at once, often without interest.
  • Peer-to-peer loans. You can fund your weight loss surgery through a loan funded by investors, rather than financial institutions, using peer-to-peer lending options. Interest rates are sometimes lower than a standard personal loan.
  • Credit cards. If your procedure doesn't cost more than your credit limit, it might be easier to put it on your credit card if you know you can pay it off quickly.
  • Friends and family. If you have trouble pulling together the funds, consider asking relatives or loved ones for financing. They might not charge you interest, though it could hurt your relationships if you're slow to pay it back.

Did you know?

Lenders consider loans secured by collateral less risky than unsecured personal loans. With a secured personal loan, your lender can sell the asset you've put up as collateral if you're unable to repay your loan on time. In this situation, your credit will likely suffer, but you might avoid a lawsuit with your creditor for defaulting.

3 tips to help you prepare for weight loss surgery

  • Expect to lose income. It's not uncommon for patients to be out of commission longer than their paid leave will cover, what with recovery and potential unexpected side effects. Prepare a budget to cover any time not covered by your pay cheque.
  • Voice your concerns. Talk with your doctor about any doubts or physical concerns you might have before going under the knife. You might end up discussing a topic you didn't realise was important but could potentially alter your procedure for the better.
  • Quit smoking. Many doctors may require you to quit smoking. Even if yours doesn't, stopping at least a month ahead of surgery might speed up your healing time and prevent complications. You'll likely need to avoid smoking at least a month after your surgery to avoid respiratory complications.

Bottom line

You don't have to put off weight loss surgery if it's crucial to maintaining your health. Personal loans, in-house payment plans and medical loans can help you pick up any costs your insurance plan won't help with.

Get started on your search for weight loss financing by checking out our guide to personal loans.

Frequently asked questions

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Important Information*
Logo for Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan
Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 25.69% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Apply for a loan up to $50,000 and repay your loan over 3 or 5 years terms.

Logo for NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed

You'll receive a fixed rate between 9.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 10.88% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.

Logo for SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.

Logo for Pepper Money Unsecured Fixed Rate Personal Loan
Pepper Money Unsecured Fixed Rate Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.95% p.a. and 17.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Make additional repayments or pay off the loan early, penalty-free.

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