How to pay for LASIK: A step-by-step guide to LASIK financing

Young woman at the eye doctor, discussion options for LASIK financingImage: Young woman at the eye doctor, discussion options for LASIK financing

In a Nutshell

If you want LASIK, but can’t afford the out-of-pocket cost upfront, there are ways to finance it.
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LASIK financing could help you pay for laser eye surgery.

If you’re tired of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses, LASIK is one way to correct your vision. But it’s an expensive procedure that many people can’t afford to pay for out of pocket.

That’s where LASIK financing comes in. We’ll walk you through how much LASIK costs and some financing options to pay for it.

What is the average cost of LASIK surgery?

LASIK surgery can average out to around $5,200, according to the National Library of Medicine.

The price may vary based on your vision and the technology being used for the laser eye surgery. But in general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 up to as much as $4,000 per eye.

How much does LASIK cost with insurance?

Unfortunately, not all insurance plans cover LASIK, because many providers consider it an elective procedure.

But in some cases, you still might be eligible for a discount. Some vision care insurance companies offer discounts for using approved LASIK providers — and while that might not cover the full amount, it’s worth checking with your vision insurance provider to see if they offer any discounts that could reduce the cost.

Is LASIK covered by FSA?

You might also be able to pay for LASIK with a flexible spending account.

If your employer offers a flexible spending account, you can spend up to the FSA limit per year on eligible healthcare expenses and medical costs like LASIK.

The money you set aside for your FSA is taken out of your paycheck before taxes. So you could save about 30% — or however much you would’ve otherwise been charged for taxes — on the amount you set aside.

If your employer offers a flexible spending account option, and you’re planning on getting LASIK, this could be worth considering.

Can LASIK be financed?

Given how expensive LASIK can be, you might need a little more help paying for it.

As helpful as an FSA account or insurance discount could be, these options might not be available to everyone, and even if you have access to them, they might not cover the full cost of LASIK. So if you’ve exhausted your other options, you might consider borrowing money.

Do LASIK providers offer payment plans?

A good place to start is with your LASIK provider. It’s worth checking to see if your eye doctor offers LASIK payment plans.

One example: Some LASIK providers partner with AccessOne to offer patients special financing. Even if you have bad credit, you could qualify for a 0% interest rate.

Another example: some LASIK providers work with CareCredit, which has offered special financing rates as low as 0% for 24 months. 

More LASIK financing options

If your LASIK provider doesn’t offer low-cost financing, or you’re looking for other lower-cost ways to finance a medical procedure, you might want to consider applying for a low-interest credit card, medical credit card, personal loan or medical loan.

While a credit card might offer a lower promotional interest rate, a personal loan could give you more time to pay.

You might have also heard of buy-now-pay-later apps like Afterpay. But when it comes to LASIK, consider steering clear of those if you have other options, because this is a big expense that you might struggle to pay back in such a short amount of time.

Let’s take a closer look at some other potential options.

Best credit card option: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Here’s why: The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card starts you off with a low promotional interest rate that just might give you enough time to pay for LASIK before the promotional rate expires.

For a limited time, you’ll get a 0% intro APR on new purchases for the first 18 billing cycles.

Or, if you’ve already paid for LASIK and are looking for ways to pay off your bill faster, you could take advantage of the 0% intro APR on balance transfers (also for the first 18 billing cycles). Just keep in mind that balance transfers have to be completed within the first 60 days of account opening, and there is a balance transfer fee: An introductory fee of either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater, for balances transferred within 60 days of account opening. After that, either 5% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.

After the 0% intro period ends, the APR for both purchases and balance transfers jumps to a variable rate of 18.74% - 29.74%.

Check out our review of the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card to learn more.

Best if you can pay off your balance quickly: CareCredit credit card

Here’s why: CareCredit is a medical credit card that you could use to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses like LASIK.

You’ll have up to two years to pay off your balance before interest charges kick in.

That’s a long time — but there’s a big catch.

If you don’t pay off the entire balance by the end of the promotional period, you’ll be hit with deferred interest, which could trap you with back charges. You’ll owe interest at a rate of 26.99% not only on your remaining balance, but also on the amount you already paid off.

Because of the deferred interest factor, this may only be a good option for people who have a plan to pay off their balance in time and are reasonably certain they can stick to it.

Take a look at our review of CareCredit to see if it might be right for you.

Best for a lot more time to pay: SoFi personal loan

Here’s why: A SoFi personal loan could give you up to seven years to pay for LASIK.

Just keep in mind, the longer it takes you to pay, the higher your interest rate will be.

Fixed rates start low (especially when you set up autopay), but can range higher, depending on your credit, income and the length of your loan.

So it’s important to compare the rate you’re offered for a personal loan to the rate you could get on a credit card to figure out which one is right for you.

You’ll also appreciate that SoFi personal loans charge no prepayment or late fees.

Read more about SoFi personal loans.

Best for people with bad credit: AccessOne

Here’s why: AccessOne provides LASIK financing for people who have bad credit.

Unlike some of the other options on this list, AccessOne is not subject to credit approval. Not only that, but you may qualify for a 0% APR, depending on how quickly you pay it back.

The challenge is finding a LASIK provider that accepts AccessOne, which you can research on the AccessOne website.

What you should know about LASIK financing

LASIK is an expensive medical procedure that insurance may not cover.

You might be tempted to take a flyer on a cheap LASIK provider — but if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Vision care is an area of your life you don’t want to skimp on. It’s important to find an experienced LASIK surgeon, and the better the quality of care, the more expensive it may be.

If you’re considering LASIK financing to help you pay for quality treatment, you should also be wary of deferred interest offers.

If you’re offered special financing, check the fine print to see what happens if you don’t pay off the entire balance by the end of the promotional period. Will you only owe interest on the remaining balance? Or will you be hit with backdated interest charges on the amount you already paid?

Deferred interest can sneak up on you. So before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you have a bullet-proof plan to pay off your balance in time. Otherwise, you might end up with more debt than you bargained for.

How we picked these LASIK financing options

To find the best LASIK financing options, we went through a step-by-step process to figure out the best way to pay for laser vision correction.

If you have vision insurance, you may want to start there. Unfortunately, depending on the insurer, you may not get coverage for the majority of the cost.

We looked at FSA accounts that help you save money for major healthcare expenses. But since not everyone has access to these options, we turned to LASIK payment plans that your provider might offer. After that, we examined third-party financing options, such as personal loans and credit cards.

About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.