Breast augmentation generally costs between $4,000 and $10,000, depending on location.

Health insurance companies define breast augmentation as an elective cosmetic procedure and do not cover the surgery. Yet “health insurance” is a blanket term, so many supplementary insurance plans pay for part of the surgery.

Total Coverage: Reconstruction

Women who have had a mastectomy are entitled to a breast reconstruction, paid for by the insurance company per a 1998 federal law.

Zero Coverage: Cosmetic

Most insurance companies deem asymmetry, self-esteem and other justifications for breast augmentation as elective cosmetic procedures, and do not cover surgery.

Insurance Supplements:

Health Savings Accounts and other employer-funded medical spending accounts give individuals more freedom in how to spend their money. Specific coverage varies, but many of these supplementary plans allow women to pay for the pre- and post-surgery visits, prescriptions and other expenses associated with breast augmentation.  Research your specific plan to find out if you are eligible to spend your medical funds on breast implants.

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Even when insurance covers the initial implantation surgery, patients generally must pay for any further reoperations or complications themselves. And since nearly one third of women undergo at least one reoperation (link to my other article), patients must take this into consideration. Augmentation and reconstruction patients should check with their insurance company to see what future treatments will be covered.

Additionally, some insurance companies consider breast implants as “pre-existing conditions,” and limit coverage or raise premiums accordingly.

However, even without insurance coverage for a surgery, the operation does not need to be paid in full at the time of surgery.

Loans And Financing:

New companies that offer loans specifically to cosmetic surgery patients make plastic surgery a reality for the common person. Companies like Breast Implants USA specifically fund breast augmentation, offering loans in blocks from 12 to 48 months, with lower interest for patients who pay it off quickly.

Payment Plans:

Other times, the surgeon or plastic surgery clinic offers their own payment plans for the surgery, eliminating the third party. Consult a particular surgeon for specifics.

Get A Stranger To Pay:

Imagine a Kickstarter for breast implants. sets women up with “benefactors” who pay the surgery for them. Women create a profile and men donate—from a few dollars to the entire surgery—to fund the implants. Seedy? Perhaps. Effective? Hundreds of women per year get their new implants via the social networking site.