One of the major challenges for many self-pay patients is finding the money to pay for major treatments such as surgery. Whether a person is uninsured, has high-deductible health insurance, or has ‘comprehensive’ insurance that won’t pay for a specific medical treatment, coming up with the money to pay for needed care can stretch the wallets of most people.
Some of the ways to pay for expensive treatments include membership in health care sharing ministries, funds in a health savings account, and holding a critical illness, fixed benefit, or similar type of insurace policy. Another route is through medical loans.
Just as there are lenders that specialize in mortgage or boat loans, there are several companies that specialize in financing health care services. They operate the same way any other lender does, asking you to fill out a loan application and then either approving or rejecting your application based on your credit profile. And just like the lending market for houses, cars, and other purposes, there are lenders that will extend credit to people with less-than-stellar credit records – for a higher interest rate, of course!
Most of the lenders I was able to find don’t make their current interest rates readily available, but the two I found that did reveal interest rates were Lightstream, which gives rates of between 5.99 and 8.24% depending on the size and duration of the loan (that’s for those with the best credit) and MedicalFinancing.com, which says their rates start at 8.99%. Other medical lenders I found, such as MedLoan Finance, United Medical Credit, and MyMedicalLoan.com, presumably have rates that are in the same general neighborhood.
It’s fairly obvious from a look at their web sites that the bulk of their medical lending is for cosmetic, dental, fertility, LASIK, or other types of treatment that many might consider unnecessary. But all of them also indicate that they loan money for medical treatment of a more vital nature, such as for hernia repair, maternity, hearing aids, and pretty much any other major medical treatment. The amount that can be borrowed looks to vary by lender, but several offer loans of up to $100,000.
Having to borrow money to pay for needed care probably isn’t the first option most self-pay patients would chose, which is why some of the other alternate financing arrangements like a health care sharing ministry or critical illness policy might make more sense for many people (for that matter, buying ‘comprehensive’ health insurance may also be preferable). But the nature of being a self-pay patient sometimes is that first and second options simply aren’t affordable, and the option of borrowing to pay for medical needs can play a vital role for self-pay patients.