Before we review your unsecured medical loan options you should understand the potential hazards. If you have any questions, discuss them directly with the broker, lender or your doctor’s office…
Thinking About Surgery Outside the United States?
U.S.-based brokers and lenders will typically work with medical providers (doctors and hospitals) outside of the United States as long as the provider has a U.S. address or bank account.
See our Medical Tourism (Weight Loss Surgery Mexico & Abroad) page for more information about leaving the country for care.
- Unsecured Loans Impact Your Credit – Late payments or a loan default could affect the interest rates you pay on future loans, insurance premiums or even your ability to get a job or rent a home. See the FTC’s web site for more info about credit.
- Weight Loss Center Conflict of Interest – If your doctor already partners with a lender or broker, don’t automatically assume it’s the best. You may get a better deal elsewhere, and your surgeon’s office only has to fill out a form or two to become affiliated with a different lender.
Also ask your surgeon’s office whether any part of the financing arrangement they offer is controlled by them and up for negotiation. Some popular lenders leave some of the terms (i.e. additional fees) up to your doctor, so there may be room for negotiation.
If your doctor is absolutely not willing to work with any other lenders, you should be suspicious – they may have a financial incentive to work with their chosen lender. The lender you choose shouldn’t matter to them. After all, they usually get paid up front regardless of which lender you use.
If your surgeon’s deal is better than anything else you find, great! If not, they should understand your decision when you tell them what you were able to find elsewhere.
The Legality of Interest-Free & 0% Interest Rate Introductory Offers
The potentially deceptive use of interest-free and 0% financing has drawn the attention of the authorities.
Always pay extra attention to the fine print when considering these offers, which should read something like the following:
INITIAL DISCLOSURE 1: "Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the balance is not paid in full within the promotion period of 12, 18 or 24 months or you make a late payment or you are otherwise in default."
INITIAL DISCLOSURE 2: "Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the balance is not paid in full within the promotional period of XX months, if you make a late payment or you are otherwise in default."
SECONDARY DISCLOSURE EXAMPLE: "Check with your doctor to see which plans are available. Available for purchases of $300.00 or more. Interest will accrue during the promotional period at an APR of 24.75% to 27.99 % (depending on creditworthiness). Your actual APR will be stated at the time of purchase. A Penalty Rate of 29.99% will be applicable if your minimum payment is not received within 60 days of the due date if stated at the time of purchase. Due Date Change Fee $15. Minimum finance charge $.50. See your Purchase Acknowledgement and [LENDER NAME] Revolving Account Agreement for more information about this Promotion. Please read that material carefully."
The fine print bottom line? Before financing bariatric surgery through any lender, get all of the details up front, ask questions about anything you don’t understand and choose the option with the lowest long-term costs (not the lowest monthly payment) that fits your budget.
Ready to review your options for unsecured medical loans?
We’re almost there. First, understand that there are two ways to go about this…