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How much should a breast reduction cost – and how can you pay the bill?

Once you've decided that breast reduction surgery is right for you and you've researched and found a qualified plastic surgeon to perform the procedure, you'll need a plan for paying the bill.

Budgeting for breast reduction surgery

Breast reduction surgery has both direct and indirect costs. Wendy Lewis, Vibrant Nation health and beauty expert and author of Cosmetic Procedures and Plastic Surgery After 50: Expert Advice for Choosing the Best Option for You, advises women to expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 for the procedure, not including hospital and anesthesia. Hospital and anesthesia fees vary considerably regionally, as well; sometimes they are grouped together, but often each is quoted as a separate fee. You can expect your direct costs to break down within these ranges:

  • $1,500 to $2000 for the person administering anesthesia
  • $500 to $2,000 for the hospital or facility
  • $5,000 to $10,000 for the surgeon

In addition to these direct costs, don’t forget to budget your indirect costs, which can be substantial. They include:

  • Any reduced pay for missed days on the job
  • Medications
  • Your new wardrobe
  • Help with household chores and ready-made meals for a couple of weeks
  • Insurance co-pays if applicable
  • Corrective surgery if required

Of course, the total budget will vary by patient, surgeon, and geographical region, but you should probably be prepared to spend at least $10,000 on the overall costs associated with your breast reduction surgery.

Although breast reduction surgery represents a major investment of money and time, women who have had it don’t question those costs. As one woman shared on VibrantNation.com, the leading online community for women over 50, "It was one of the best decisions of my life. I am sooooo glad I listened to my own counsel about this issue. Almost 3 1/2 pounds was removed, insurance covered it completely and I feel 110% better. I've had no neck or shoulder paid since the surgery. I'm a 36C, enjoy exercising again and have lost 18 pounds."

Will my health insurance pay for breast reduction surgery?

According to Wendy Lewis in Cosmetic Procedures and Plastic Surgery After 50: Expert Advice for Choosing the Best Option for You, insurance coverage for breast reduction surgery may be obtainable depending on the criteria of your individual carrier. Medical insurance sometimes covers part if not all of the cost of breast reduction surgery if overly large breasts are causing health problems, such as headaches, neck aches, or backaches. If you require or request 500ccs of tissue to be removed from each breast, some health insurance carriers will cover the cost of your breast reduction. Check with the carrier to find out the specifics of your policy.

A Vibrant Nation member advises, "Start creating a history with your primary health care provider. Numbness in my hands and arms, shoulder grooves and neck pain, discomfort while traveling for business, knee and foot and ankle swelling, varicose veins; these conditions can all be either lessened or eliminated by breast reduction. Talk to your doctor."

Also, talk to your insurance company. Ask:

  • How much, if anything, will be covered by my plan?
  • Will my insurance premiums or future coverage be affected if I file a claim?
  • Can you provide me a checklist of everything I'll need to provide in order for my insurance plan to pay (for example, a completed pre-authorization form)?

Are there other options to pay for breast reduction surgery?

The amount not covered by medical insurance can be financed, usually through your plastic surgeon's office. If not, your surgeon can probably refer you to a medical finance company, so check with your doctor's office first.

Then, compare finance plans carefully to get the best deal. When we researched this topic, most plans offered favorable terms like no down payment, no processing fees, no interest for a fixed number of months, flexible payment options, and no prepayment penalty. But interest rates varied from 5.9% to 18.9%, so do your math homework on this one to determine the cheapest financing option.

Depending on what you learn by comparing medical finance plans, it might even be cheaper to pay for your surgery with a credit card or by drawing from your home's equity. The idea of making payments for smaller breasts might seem odd to some, but many patients who've had breast reduction surgery discover that their newfound comfort level and ability to engage in physical exercise again is well worth the investment.

For more information about breast plastic surgery, download our free report: 5 Keys to Successful Breast Reduction Surgery After 50.


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