Free cosmetic surgery for teachers? It may sound outrageous but it’s the law of the land in Buffalo, New York. The city’s school board and teacher’s union are currently engaged in a pitched battle over how a cosmetic surgery rider should be removed from the current teachers’ contract. In addition to cosmetic surgery, the rider also allows teachers to get massages. Who pays the bill? You guessed it: taxpayers.

In the latest twist, the New York State Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order that will prevent the school board from canceling the rider unless and until it negotiates a new contract with the Buffalo Teacher’s Federation (BTF). The court’s decision follows a vote by the school board to eliminate the rider, which was challenged by the BTF in court because the board made the decision without trying to negotiate a new contract. The BTF had said that it was willing to consider eliminating the rider, but only after negotiations took place.

This kerfuffle up in Buffalo raises a few questions: Who should pay for a person’s cosmetic surgery? Is financing a good idea? What are the options?

Should You Pay for Your Own Surgery?

Millions of people have cosmetic procedures each year, and it can be quite expensive. In addition to the surgeon’s fee patients can expect to pay fees for anesthesia, surgical facility costs and other services.

It’s also important to note that insurance doesn’t cover plastic surgery except in rare cases, such as reconstructive surgery after an accident.

But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay for your cosmetic surgery, so long as you can do so without dipping into emergency funds.

What Financing Options Are Available for Surgery?

 But if you don’t have the money, don’t fret. There are a number of financing options available for plastic surgery. If you are considering plastic surgery, here are some other payment methods to consider

Medical or health care credit card. These cards are currently all the rage among plastic surgery patients. Medical credit cards can only be used for medical expenses, but this often includes cosmetic surgery. The cards often come with a 0 percent introductory interest rate for the first six months, after which there is usually a modest rate hike. This is lower than most standard credit cards. And the payment plan options are often better as well.

Standard credit card. Some people opt to use standard credit cards with low APRs, while others apply for new cards with 0 percent introductory interest, to pay for their cosmetic surgery.

Bank loan. You may be able to secure a personal loan to pay for your surgery, from your bank or credit union.

Home equity loan. People use home equity loans — loans taken against their home’s equity — for all sorts of things, including cosmetic surgery. The interest is based on current mortgage rates.

Unsecured medical loan. These loans may come in the form of a credit card or personal loan. In many cases they are brokered via third parties, such as brokers or doctors.

Surgeon payment plan. Some surgeons are willing to work with their patients to come up with a payment plan the patient can afford. However, most of these plans stipulate that payment be made in full before the surgery.

401(k) loan. 401(k) plans usually let participants borrow up to 50 percent of their account’s vested balance (but no more than $50,000). To repay the balance, payments are deducted from your paycheck.

Loan from friend or family member. Borrowing from those you’re close with can be a tempting option if you know people with lots of moolah. The terms are usually better and your credit won’t get dinged if you pay late. But of course, paying late — or, God forbid, defaulting — will also make you feel guiltier and could have a dramatic effect on your relationship. Also, even if you do pay on time, it’s worth considering that your friend or family member would probably make more investing the money elsewhere.

Gift certificate. It may sound strange but it’s not uncommon for people to give loved ones gift certificates or establish funds that allow friends or family to contribute money toward their surgery.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide how to pay for your cosmetic surgery. Think about what you can afford, and do your due diligence with regard to reading the fine print of any loan or financing option you’re considering. And even more importantly, make sure to locate a qualified, board-certified facial plastic surgeon to perform your procedure!

To learn more, contact the office of Dr. Sam Rizk.