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Commonly Uncovered Medical Procedures

woman undergoing Lasik surgery - thumbnail

When you purchase health insurance, you’re seeking to cover the cost of most procedures, exams and diagnostic tests. You rely on your health insurance to reduce your out of pocket costs even if it does not pay your healthcare bills in full.

However, there’s something you need to know: some medical treatments may not be covered, especially those your insurer considers nonessential benefits.

With this in mind, it’s good practice to check with your health insurance company before undergoing any procedure. This will give you a clear idea if the procedure is covered or if you will be responsible for 100 percent of the cost.

Here are six common medical procedures not typically covered by health insurance:

1. Lasik

Do you want 20/20 vision but don’t want to wear glasses or contacts?

Lasik surgery is one way to achieve this goal. However, it’s not covered by most health insurance or vision policies.

Estimated cost: While most people pay approximately $2,000 per eye, the cost of Lasik can vary from less than $1,000 per eye to more than $4,000.

2. Plastic Surgery

Are you interested in cosmetic dentistry? How about a nose reshaping? Removal of a scar?

Well, be aware that they’re not typically covered by health insurance.

Estimated cost: This depends on the type of procedure, with most costing $1,000 or more. For example, the average cost of rhinoplasty is more than $5,000, and that’s before you include anesthesia, the OR facilities and other related expenses.

The Chicago Tribune breaks down the average cost of the most common plastic surgery procedures, including a tummy tuck at $5,800.

3. Hearing Aids

While a handful of states require health insurance companies to provide coverage for hearing aids, there’s a good chance you may have to pay for some or all of this expense out of pocket.

Of course, this is something you probably don’t want to do without, as hearing loss could compromise your ability to communicate.

Estimated cost: According to Healthy Hearing, hearing aids vary in price from approximately $1,000 to $6,000 per device. That does typically include a hearing test, consultation, initial fitting and follow-up adjustments, but since most people require two hearing aids and hearing aids have an average lifespan of about eight years, the cost can add up quickly.

4. Liposuction

Although many health insurance companies cover bariatric surgery, such as gastric bands and laparoscopic gastric bypass, the same cannot be said for liposuction.

This doesn’t treat obesity or overeating, but it can remove excess body fat and help improve your self-esteem.

Estimated cost: The American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that the average cost of liposuction is more than $3,500 and again does not include the hospital facilities, anesthesia and related expenses.

5. Acupuncture

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), many studies show that acupuncture can help relieve pain associated with the neck, back, and knees (among other body parts).

acupuncture needles

Even so, many health insurance companies don’t provide coverage for acupuncture. So, if you’re interested in this procedure, you’ll most likely have to pay out of pocket.

Estimated cost: Thervo, a service that matches consumers to service providers, estimates the average cost of acupuncture as $50 to $90 per session.

6. Hair Transplant

Did you know that more than 635,000 hair transplant surgeries were performed in 2016? Did you know that both men and women can take advantage of this procedure?

Just the same as plastic surgery, a hair transplant procedure is not covered by health insurance.

Estimated cost: According to hair transplant provider Bosley, the cost of this procedure ranges  from $6,000 to $10,000, depending on the number of follicle grafts required for restoration. It’s important to remember that some people require in excess of 1,000 follicular transplants to achieve the desired result.

Funding the Coverage Gap with Personal Loans

Medical expenses can quickly add up. And while opinions may vary on which procedures are “necessary” or “essential,” there may be a treatment or procedure that would make a big difference for you.

How do you pay for something that’s important to you when the costs are high and insurance doesn’t cover it?

Personal loans have many uses, and medical expenses can be among them. The application and funding process (if approved) usually happens within a matter of days, and the repayment terms can be flexible. This often makes a personal loan an attractive option when you need money for a procedure that could significantly improve your well-being.