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How to Use Peer-to-Peer Loans for Weight Loss Surgery

Peer loans can be your best option to pay for weight loss surgery with low rates and fast funding

My wife and I used to love watching The Biggest Loser on TV. Watching the contestants transform themselves to become everything they had always wanted was not only good entertainment but gave us a sense of hope every week.

I was always amazed at how much it took to lose all that weight. Contestants make diet and exercise their job for months, putting in five to seven hours in the gym every day and eating next to nothing.

Most people don’t have the luxury of dedicated personal trainers and a million-dollar gym. For many people, even exercising hours a day and watching what they eat won’t be enough to lose weight.

For those and for those people that just need a little help, weight loss surgery has always been a viable option. The average person reports losing between 30% to 40% of their excess weight in just six months after bariatric surgery. That means losing 100 pounds for the 250-pound patient and even more weight loss at the one-year mark.

While weight loss surgery is an option, it’s not a cheap one.

Traditional banks won’t help and insurance companies will put up every hurdle to disqualify you as a candidate. Even if your insurance covers some of the surgery cost, you’ll still be looking at thousands of dollars in copay and deductibles.

This is what my cousin encountered when she decided to have the surgery. After being told no by every bank in town, she turned to peer-to-peer loans and was able to get the money in less than a week from the PersonalLoans platform.

She helped me put together this guide to p2p loans for weight loss surgery including surgery costs and how to get a loan.

How Much Does Weight Loss Surgery Cost?

There are different kinds of weight loss surgery, but the cost is usually between $15,000 to $25,000 for most procedures. A survey of insurance companies show that two-in-three health plans cover no costs and the ones that do usually cover 50% or less of the entire cost.

That means paying from $7,500 to $12,500 for your procedure IF you’re lucky enough to be covered by a policy that includes weight loss surgery.

If it were any other type of cosmetic surgery, I would say that cost is just too high. Weight loss surgery is different though. Besides the potential to live longer and healthier, the transformation my cousin enjoyed from dropping nearly 80 pounds from her small 4’9” frame was priceless.

You’ll usually need a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40 to qualify for weight loss surgery or a BMI of 35 plus two or more health issues that would make losing the weight beneficial. For example, that means the average 5’4” female would need to weigh 230 pounds to be a candidate for surgery.

You’ll need to decide which type of weight loss surgery is best for you before you apply for any peer loans to cover the cost. Understanding the different types of surgery and how much your insurance might cover will help to know how much you need to borrow.

The least expensive weight loss surgery is usually gastric bands which average $14,532 in the United States. A 2017 survey found the lowest prices in Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska but your insurance policy may require you to go to a specific surgeon.

Gastric sleeve surgery is only slightly more expensive at an average of $14,900 in the U.S. and the procedure my cousin had done.

On the other end of the price curve, Laparoscopic gastric bypass averages $23,000 because it is a more intensive procedure and longer hospital stays are sometimes involved. Despite the higher cost, gastric bypass surgery usually offers the highest odds of long-term weight loss so is the most popular.

cost of p2p loan for weight loss surgery

Cost of a P2P Loan for Weight Loss Surgery

Other costs of weight loss surgery, often not paid for through insurance include:

  • Adjustments of bands
  • Nutritionist appointments from $50 to $100 per visit
  • Physical therapy usually from $35 to $85 per visit
  • A completely new wardrobe
  • Gym membership to help keep the weight off

Financing Bariatric Surgery with Peer-to-Peer Loans

Traditional banks usually won’t make a loan for weight loss surgery. Even if they do, it could take weeks to be approved for a loan. Credit cards can be used but the average 18% interest rate means you’ll end up paying thousands more for the surgery in interest payments.

Some hospitals will offer private medical loans, especially for bariatric surgery patients because of the higher cost, but these often come with rates as high as credit cards and steep balloon payments after a few years.

That makes peer-to-peer loans one of the best options for weight loss procedures. Personal loans can be used for any purpose and other people, the ‘peer’ in p2p lending, are more sympathetic to your need to transform your life.

P2P loans are also the fastest option with most loans able to fund within three business days. That means you can start the paperwork for the surgery quickly after finding out how much insurance will cover and how much you need to come up with.

My cousin was able to get a peer loan on PersonalLoans for $8,500 at 14% interest on a three-year term and payments of $290 per month. She ended up paying off the loan early to save on interest and has kept most of the weight off ever since.

This review of PersonalLoans will help you understand how to get the best rates on your peer loan.

Other Options to Paying for Weight Loss Surgery

There are several other ways to pay for weight loss surgery besides a personal loan. The most common is through private insurance though this requires you to have a BMI of over 40 and be approved by your doctor.

how to pay for weight loss surgery with p2p loansMedicaid may cover the cost of weight loss surgery but has different criteria compared to most insurance plans. You need to be over the age of 13 (male) or 15 (female) and qualify for Medicaid through income limits. You also need a BMI of 35 or higher and at least one comorbidity like high blood pressure, sleep apnea or diabetes.

Crowdfunding is also an alternative way to pay for weight loss surgery but can be a lot of work. Think of how much work goes into managing a non-profit charity and that is what has to go into a crowdfunding campaign.

  • Pre-launch your crowd campaign by reaching out to friends and family about your need for weight loss surgery
  • Create your crowdfunding page with a compelling argument about why people should help pay for your surgery
  • Reach out to people personally to fund your campaign through social media and in-person contacts

While paying for your bypass surgery through crowdfunding will mean you won’t have to repay your money, most campaigns don’t reach their target amount. Nearly two-thirds of crowd campaigns don’t raise enough money and running a campaign will take at least a month.

Other options to pay for weight loss surgery include taking out a loan on your life insurance policy and refinancing your home mortgage. Neither of these are as good as the peer lending option though.

Using a loan on your insurance policy might threaten your coverage if you aren’t able to make payments, same goes for a home loan. P2P loans are unsecured which means you don’t have to worry about losing your home or other assets if you miss a payment.

Risks of Weight Loss Surgery Loans

Just as there are risks to gastric surgery, there are risks to using peer loans to pay for the surgery.

Even at lower rates than on credit cards, the interest on p2p loans can add up. The average rate on a peer loan is around 14% which means a $5,000 loan will cost $1,100 in interest over three years. There’s no early payment penalty on personal loans so always try paying them off as quickly as possible to save on interest.

Any money you spend on weight loss surgery is ultimately wasted if you gain the weight back. While bariatric surgery is much more effective than just diet alone, about 5% of patients gain their weight back after two years post-surgery.

If you take out a personal loan and then decide not to go through with the surgery, you’ll still have to pay the money back. Failure to repay a personal loan will hit your credit just as hard as an unpaid bank loan.

Check your rate on a personal loan – approval in 5 minutes

A peer to peer loan is one of your best options to pay for weight loss surgery. Loans can be funded quickly and usually at rates less than credit cards. P2P loans are not secured against your property so you don’t have to worry about losing your home. Peer loans are available from most p2p sites for up to $35,000 which will cover the total cost of gastric surgery even if your insurance won’t.

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