Cost of Gastric Balloon: Insurance, Self-Pay, Financing

Being overweight can be a real curtail on your enjoyment of life. From the day to day experience of not fitting into clothes well to the long-term health effects of obesity, the struggle to lose weight is a real one. If you need help beyond diet and exercise but don’t want to have invasive surgeries, consider having a gastric balloon procedure and weigh the cost of said procedure when paid for with cash vs financing.

The gastric balloon is a new method of weight-loss medical intervention. It’s non-surgical and can be done on an outpatient basis. The way that the process works involves a silicone balloon being placed within your stomach and filled with saline. The device fills up your stomach, limiting your appetite and capacity for food.

Qualifying Factors

Every worthy candidate for a gastric balloon procedure must be fully committed to the prescribed diet and exercise regimen. Without this dedication, results will be sketchy and short-lived!

Weight-related health conditions can also be indicators of the need for a gastric balloon. Some of these include hypertension, sleep apnea, heart conditions, and Type II diabetes.

Candidates for this procedure will have a BMI, or Body Mass Index, of 30-40. 

No candidate should have had a prior esophageal or stomach surgery either.

Before the Procedure

When planning to have a gastric balloon placed, you’ll need to get your financial and physical house in order. Your doctor will order bloodwork and screenings to make sure that you’re prepared and a good candidate for the procedure. 

Since this procedure is brand new, your insurance probably doesn’t provide coverage for the gastric balloon.

This situation will require that you either finance or pay cash for the procedure. 

Pros and Cons of Cash Payment

Cash payments are ideal in that they cost less. You won’t pay interest, nor will you have a monthly payment obligation hanging over your head. Unfortunately, without significant savings in reserve, you will have to postpone the procedure while you do, in fact, stack the cash necessary. 

In addition to crowd-sourcing, selling unneeded possessions, and sacrificing small luxuries, you can pretend as if you’re actually paying down a financed loan. A set monthly amount, when set aside, should amass the required funds in a timely way. 

Pros and Cons of Financing

Financing will cost you more money, but it will make your weight-loss adventure begin faster! When you finance your gastric balloon procedure, you will need to pay interest. The amount of interest that you’ll repay will depend on the length of time that you have to repay as well as the interest rate that you receive based upon your credit score, income, and other factors. 

Financing options come in three basic categories: a payment plan with the facility, unsecured financing, or a secured loan or line of credit.

A Payment Plan with the Facility

In-house financing refers to when you’re able to make payment arrangements with the doctor and clinic that you plan to use. Every doctor won’t offer this arrangement, but many offering the gastric balloon procedure do since it isn’t covered by insurance. This method of financing your procedure will definitely be convenient, but you should still pay attention to the APR and repayment schedule. You should choose the financing option that you qualify for with the lowest interest rate and shortest term with a payment that you can confidently manage. 

Unsecured Borrowing

You can also pay for your gastric balloon by choosing unsecured lending, meaning that you borrow based upon your promise to repay without collateral involved. For the best APRs and choice of terms, you’ll need a good credit rating, high income, and provable assets, but many options still exist for those with credit problems. Consider the following options for borrowing without collateral.

  • Credit cards
  • Personal loans (Upstart, Earnest, LendingClub, and LendingPoint offer options for various credit situations including consideration of education and job history.)

As you choose the right option for your situation, pay close attention to the APR and the time allotted for repayment. The higher the Annual Percentage Rate, the more interest will accrue, and the longer you stretch out the repayment of the loan, the more interest will be paid.

Secured Borrowing

Putting up your valuable possessions as collateral to fund your gastric balloon procedure is another method of payment. Your home, car, art, or other treasured possession can fund this life-changing procedure whether you borrow the amount required outright or open a secured line of credit.

This borrowing will likely have friendlier terms because lenders feel more comfortable, knowing that if you default, they’ll have some compensation by taking your property. You risk your possessions, but when you’re sure of ability to pay, it might be worth it in the amount saved in interest.

The Results Make It Worth the Time or the Interest

Your gastric balloon will stay inside your stomach for a maximum of 6 months, during which you should be able to lose twice the amount of weight that would have been lost with diet and exercise alone. Throughout the duration of your gastric balloon placement you should be under the care of a physician for monitoring and safety purposes.

Committing to the process is key, and whether you invest your time by saving or money by paying the interest accrued through financing, you’re more likely to keep that dedication. The diet and exercise portion of the procedure is critical to a successful weight-loss intervention. Wasting your time and money because you fail to follow through with your side of the bargain would be quite unfortunate, so make sure that you’re ready to commit before undergoing the procedure.

Whether you postpone your surgery and save money or pay interest to kick off your weight-loss sooner, do so after weighing the cost of funding your gastric balloon procedure by paying cash or financing. Regardless of your choice, the procedure will be the solution for those who need help losing weight but don’t want to undergo an invasive, major surgery.