Medical aids will not cover certain procedures, particularly cosmetic surgery and weight loss procedures. Other non-essential medical services like infertility procedures and LASIK may not be covered in full by medical aids, with many schemes now covering any part of the costs. A medical loan may be your only option should you not have the cash in hand to pay for these procedures.
What is a Medical Loan?
A medical loan is essentially a personal loan with credit being granted for the payment of non-essential medical procedures. Just as with any line of credit, you will be screened before the loan is approved.
You will also be subjected to the same stringent criteria for a loan approval as is the case with other credit facilities. Approval of these loans depend on a number of factors including your income level, credit rating and outstanding debts.
All of these factors are based on the criteria laid out according the National Credit Act (NCA) in deciding whether the loan will be granted or turned down. Certain companies specialise in medical loans and will assist you with finance provided that you are a suitable candidate. Apart from the financial capability of the applicant, the type of procedure that you wish to fund will also be considered.
Medical Loans for Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic procedures that may be covered includes :
- implants, like a breast, chin and facial implants
- lifts, like a breast, buttock and thigh lift and a tummy tuck
- reconstructive surgery like a nose job
- dental work like braces, implants, crowns, reshaping of the teeth, dentures and veneers
- hair restoration like replacement, transplant and implants
Most of these procedures are not paid for by traditional medical aid cover because it is considered as non-essential procedures.
Medical Loans for Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery is known as bariatric surgery. These procedures require specialist skills and are not widely available. Therefore, weight loss procedures are expensive and without medical aid cover, it is unaffordable for most people.
With a medical loan, you can pay for your weight loss surgery and slowly settle the loan over a long period of time. Procedures like a jejuno-ileal bypass (JIB) are not covered as this procedure is now banned in most countries.
Medical Loans for Fertility Treatments
Infertility is a growing problem and a number of fertility treatments are now available to assist women with conceiving. IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and artificial insemination are usually not covered by medical aids although certain restricted schemes will pay for a portion of the procedure.
In most other cases, a medical loan is the only way to pay for fertility treatments should you not have the available cash to settle the costs upfront. However, the success rate of these treatments are fairly low and only suitable candidates may be approved for a medical loan for fertility treatments.
Medical Loans for LASIK and Medical Devices
Most medical aids, depending on the plan, will pay for LASIK and certain medical devices. However, this may only be a part payment and the medical aid member is still required to fund the unpaid portion. These procedures and devices are costly and a medical loan may be necessary in these cases.
Medical Loan Costs
Most medical loans will cover all the costs associated with non-essential medical services. This includes hospital costs, the fees of the medical specialist, prosthetics and follow up treatments. It is important to be aware of the full cost of the procedure and any financial implications that may be forthcoming after the procedure.
The doctor responsible for conducting the procedure will have to provide you with a quote of all the costs involved. The medical loan broker and the registered financial service provider will decide if you are a suitable candidate and upon on individual factors of your loan agreement such as the interest rate.
You will be informed about all the costs and the credit terms and conditions before you accept the loan. Even if the medical procedure is unsuccessful, you are still responsible for payment of the loan.