Are you considering gastric bypass surgery to get rid of excess weight? Perhaps, you are wondering how much the procedure would cost you and if it is covered by insurance. Prepare to spend much to be able to lose weight. Nowadays, weight loss or bariatric surgery costs around $20,000 to $35,000. In fact, the cost of weight loss surgery has gone down significantly in the past years. It varies depending on the quality of procedure itself, the experience of the surgeon, the medical team that will help in the operation, and the additional post-surgery services that a patient availed of.
Insurance Coverage for Weight Loss Surgery Patients
Is the cost of weight loss surgery covered by insurance companies? If a patient has insurance, he may pay part of the cost or nothing at all. A lot of health insurance companies have considered obesity as a serious health problem, so they cover part of or all the expenses incurred in weight loss surgery. This is because weight loss surgery can actually save them money in the long term. Insurance coverage for weight loss surgery depends on the insurance firm itself, the particular insurance policy, and the state where the patient is located (since there is no insurance coverage in some states). Also, insurance coverage is given only to qualified candidates or those who meet specific criteria set by an insurance company.
The following are the criteria that a weight loss surgery patient must meet to qualify for insurance coverage:
- Obesity for at least five years before the surgery
- Minimum of 100 lbs. of excess weight
- Showed serious efforts to lose weight through diet and exercise but to no avail
- No history of alcoholism
- No history of depression or other mental disorders
To be able to enjoy the insurance benefits, the patient (with the help of the surgeon or clinic) is required to file some forms to the insurance company. One of the necessary forms include a Letter of Medical Necessity that usually indicates the patient’s weight or body mass index, obesity-related diseases (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, etc.), and the duration of the patient’s obesity, among others.
On the other hand, weight loss surgery patients who are not covered by insurance must shoulder the costs themselves. These self-pay patients may apply for personal loans to be able to pay for the surgery, but this payment option involves interest rates.
The cost of weight loss surgery must also include the expenses following the procedure. A change in lifestyle after the surgery results in certain expenses such as gym membership for the exercises and new sets of clothes, which will need to be replaced several times during the year.
Besides the financial costs, there are emotional and physical costs involved as well in the weight loss surgery. For one, the patient will need to adjust to the new lifestyle and the changes in his body, which can trigger high levels of stress and anxiety especially in the few weeks following the surgery. The physical cost of gastric bypass surgery involves being committed to the recommended diet plan to avoid serious complications and weight gain.
In particular, it means the patient must stay away from foods rich in fat and sugar, as well as avoid unhealthy habits such as skipping meals and overeating. Sticking to a regular exercise program is also part of the surgery’s physical cost.