Cosmetic enhancements are all about empowering people to love the way they look. Whether it’s the constant Zoom calls, social media influencers, or celebrity culture leading people to focus on their appearance, we’ve seen more people looking for surgical and non-surgical procedures to meet their aesthetic aspirations. According to a recent trends report by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), more than 75% of ASPS members saw increased demand compared to pre-pandemic levels, with nearly a quarter of aesthetic-focused practices (23%) reporting that their business had doubled.
What we found interesting was that it wasn’t the video calls and social media that increased demand for cosmetic procedures the most, but rather patients feeling more financially prepared and ready to take on the costs associated with their desired treatments. Among the top reasons plastic surgeons cited for their patients seeking out treatments included tapping into unused travel budgets (42%) and budgeting/saving money during the pandemic (33%).
Cosmetic Patient Journey and Affordability
Cost has always loomed large for cosmetic patients considering treatment. Over the past few years, patients have taken on more of the financial responsibility associated with their health care. There are a few reasons for this, such as increasing out-of-pocket healthcare costs, the rising popularity of high-deductible healthcare plans, and traditional health plans covering less. On top of that, cosmetic procedures are typically elective and deemed not medically necessary, leaving the costs of care almost entirely up to the patient to cover. The lack of affordability often leads many consumers to delay or completely forgo their desired care or treatment.
To learn more about the cosmetic patient journey and how providers can best support patients in their decision-making process, Synchrony conducted the “Path to Care” study in 2021. Not only did we confirm cost was a primary concern for cosmetic patients, with 80% of patients researching payment information before getting a procedure, but we also found the average cosmetic care decision takes more than four months and involves extensive research on everything from providers and practices to products, procedures, and payment options.
Helping Cosmetic Patients Overcome Cost Concerns
Providers should be focused on treating a patient’s whole self – from serving as an expert resource to field questions and advice to an artist creating amazing aesthetic results.
For cosmetic patients whose finances are top of mind, providers should prioritize conversations around cost, starting from the initial consultation all the way through the recovery process. Adopting a transparent approach to pricing and being upfront about expected costs can help patients better prepare financially and help ease concerns. Providers can also guide patients through their financing options to help them make informed financial decisions related to their care.
There are several ways for patients to finance their desired cosmetic procedures and treatments:
- Health Savings Account (HSA): Available to those with a qualifying high-deductible health plan to save pre-tax dollars specifically for health care expenses.
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA): A pre-tax saving account that can be used for health-related expenses like copays, deductibles and prescriptions.
- Savings Account: Even a basic savings account can help set aside money for costs not covered by insurance.
Benefits of Partnering With Third-Party Financing Solutions
To ensure every patient has the opportunity to reach their aesthetic goals, providers can also work with a financial partner to offer additional financing options, like a health and wellness credit card. With a health and wellness credit card, like the CareCredit credit card offered through Synchrony, cosmetic patients can leverage promotional financing options to help make out-of-pocket expenses more manageable. Cardholders can finance their care through structured monthly payments and save significant money through avoided interest charges when they pay off during the promotional period.
As the demand for cosmetic procedures increases, and with it the growing need for payment options, partnering with a third-party financial services provider is key to helping patients get the care they want so they can love the way they look.