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LASIK Financing: Costs & How to Afford Surgery

LASIK can cost about $2,600 per eye on average, but you can utilize several different financing methods to reduce and otherwise offset that cost. 

man holding a piggy bank

Many people pay for LASIK through financial institutions, and the loans available often have very manageable terms. You can also use several options to achieve a tax advantage on your LASIK costs, such as through an HSA.

Pricing & Financing for LASIK

While the overall cost of LASIK can range from $1,000 to $4,000 per eye, the average for the U.S. falls right around $2,600. More advanced or otherwise complex procedures can cost more. 

For example, it is possible to create a three-dimensional map of a person’s eye for more precise surgery. This can cost as much as an additional $500 per eye. As another example, if your surgeon uses IntraLase, a laser that can cut your eye rather than a precise, small metal blade, this can cost an average of $344 more per eye.

According to experts consulted by Forbes, financing options for LASIK can have fairly good rates available. You can find plans that offer $0 down with no interest for two years. Many companies offer extended plans that last as long as five years. 

Your insurance may cover part of your LASIK procedure, but most plans do not cover the full cost. 

LASIK is considered nonessential, making it an elective surgery. Alternatives to LASIK usually exist, such as glasses, that cost less overall, even if you may prefer to have LASIK over wearing corrective devices.

Financing LASIK Through FSAs & HSAs

Other options to help pay for your LASIK involve financing through a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). These accounts can help you get certain tax benefits that can offset some of the cost of your surgery.

An HSA account, which is available for people who use high deductible health plans (HDHP), involves contributing money to the account every month. The money you put into this account is exempt from federal income tax, meaning you can save a substantial amount of money for the year. 

An FSA works in a very similar way, although it has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. An employer controls an FSA, unlike an HSA where you control contributions. In some ways, this makes an FSA ironically less flexible. 

The biggest advantage of an FSA is that you don’t need an HDHP. 

How to Apply for LASIK Financing

Assuming you cannot finance LASIK surgery yourself, you can finance the surgery through a mid-sized loan. Many financial institutes can provide such a loan, provided you meet their requirements. 

The stronger your financial history and credit score, the easier it will be to get a loan and the better your rates will be.

Some companies that provide LASIK surgery also have in-house loan providers that specialize in these types of loans. This is a useful service, although it’s not necessarily your best option. 

When financing your LASIK procedure, research loan providers that can help. Talk to several companies and see which can offer you the best rate. 

As noted earlier, it is sometimes possible to get no-interest loans for certain periods of time. Generally, the lower the interest rate, the better the offer is.

Paying Off a LASIK Loan

Paying off a LASIK loan works in a way that is similar to other loan payments. 

Each month, a company sends a bill. This bill has a minimum amount of money you must pay, but it also allows for paying more than that minimum. This can help reduce your debt faster, and you’ll end up paying less in interest overall. 

Many people pay off their loans as quickly as possible. This helps you pay the least amount of interest and can save hundreds of dollars, depending on your interest rate. 

The downside of this approach is that paying off a loan early can sometimes cause your credit score to see a reduction. Some loans may also have prepayment penalties to discourage you from paying off a loan too quickly.

The reason this happens is that the business model of credit companies is ostensibly based on customers paying interest. They don’t make a profit until a person has paid back more than the money they initially asked for. The less interest a customer pays, the less profitable that customer is for the company.

Tax Refunds for LASIK

You can deduct LASIK surgery from your taxes as a medical expense. You can only get a deduction if your medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income for the year. Your medical and dental expenses, as well as those of your spouse and any dependents, factor into this total. 

For some people, the cost of LASIK alone is enough to qualify, especially if you had the surgery performed on both eyes.

Explanation of Costs for LASIK

Companies usually present LASIK cost as a singular number, with the possible price increases noted earlier. This is because they don’t usually break down the cost into an itemized list like some facilities such as hospitals often do. The consultation, pre-surgical appointment, procedure, and follow-up visits are all included in most facilities’ initial quotes.

The exception is medical care as a result of any complications. If a complication arises, such as infection, or further surgery becomes necessary, those costs often get added to the original quote. 

If you don’t achieve desired results with your initial surgery, many clinics will offer free enhancement surgery within the first year or so. If your vision changes and you need enhancement surgery beyond that point, it is usually treated as a new surgery with a new rate.

References

  1. The 25th Anniversary of Laser Vision Correction in the United States. (March 2021). Clinical Ophthalmology.

  2. Health Savings Account (HSA). U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

  3. High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) & Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

  4. How Much Does LASIK Cost? (October 2021). Forbes.

  5. HSA vs. FSA: What’s the difference? Aetna.

  6. LASIK Eye Surgery Cost. CostHelper.

  7. Topic No. 502 Medical and Dental Expenses. (February 2022). Internal Revenue Service.

Last Updated April 12, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.