Rising Patient Responsibility: Cosmetic Surgery
When most people think about cosmetic surgery, the first thought is often an image of celebrities and other wealthy individuals having vanity procedures done. While that’s certainly a sizable piece of an industry that has reported gains of 25% since 2012, cosmetic surgery also includes procedures that follow-on other medical surgeries to hide or remove scars, deformities, etc. And for those born with visible birthmarks or other blemishes that may be harmful to self-esteem and personal confidence, cosmetic surgery hardly feels like something that is elective. Today we explore current trends in cosmetic surgery, including how it impacts patient out-of-pocket costs.
Cosmetic surgery by the numbers.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, approximately 17.5 million cosmetic procedures were completed in 2017. The majority of procedures done were those considered minimally-invasive, a category that includes botox (7.2 million), soft tissue fillers (2.7 million), and chemical peels (1.4 million). While most minimally-invasive procedures can be completed for less than $1,000, more significant cosmetic surgeries, including reconstructive surgeries, can run into the thousands of dollars.
Cosmetic surgery and medical tourism.
As we’ve written about before, tourism planned around costly medical procedures is nothing new. It is estimated that approximately 14 million people go abroad for cosmetic surgery each year, a number that a 2014 survey estimated to represent close to half of all so-called medical tourism procedures. Perhaps even more so than dentistry services, there are significant risks with having cosmetic procedures done in countries that lack proper standards and regulations, the repercussions of which can result in additional medical bills once the patient has returned to the U.S. Clearly, the large numbers of people taking this calculated risk each year suggest that finding reasonable financing is an issue.
The rise of minimally-invasive procedures.
As noted above, minimally-invasive procedures make up the bulk of the industry. They also represent the highest area of recent growth. The significance of this trend is in seeing more frequent if less invasive, procedures. On their own, these procedures may run only in the hundreds of dollars. However, over the course of several years, they can be much more significant. How this trend will impact the popularity of more involved procedures remains to be seen. Regardless, cosmetic surgery is still a growing portion of healthcare expenditures and one that is nearly all patient-paid.
While cosmetic surgery may be less likely to come up unexpectedly, it does often come with a hefty price tag, and patients need funding alternatives. Curae can provide flexible patient financing in just minutes, while the provider can be paid within 48 hours after a charge has been processed. Give your patients the funding source they seek, and an opportunity to pursue the cosmetic surgery they desire without having to travel abroad and leave the comforts of home. To find out more, visit Curae today.