Costs for bariatric surgery can range between $20,000 to $25,000, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. If you have health insurance, some or all of these costs may be covered by your insurance company.
Many insurance companies have recognized the need to provide coverage for weight-loss surgery. Often, the cost of surgery is lower than the cost of ongoing medical care for conditions related to excess weight. However, it is important to review your policy and understand your coverage. Even is your policy covers bariatric surgery, there may be requirements that you have to meet, or you may not be covered for procedures that are considered "experimental" procedures, such as duodenal switch and gastric sleeve.
Certain criteria will need to be met before your insurance will cover your procedure. Some policies will only cover surgery if the patient has:
- A BMI of 35 or greater with other comorbidities such as coronary heart disease, significant obstructive sleep apnea, or type 2 diabetes
- A BMI over 40
The types of procedures that are covered can also vary greatly between insurance companies. Again, it is very important that you contact your insurance company to determine exactly what is covered before scheduling a consultation. Your doctor’s office may be able to help you determine what is required in order for you to qualify for bariatric surgery coverage.
Medically supervised diets
Some insurance companies require that you follow a medically supervised diet for a period of six months prior to surgery. Make sure that you follow all instructions as provided by your doctor’s office and keep all appointments during this time period. If you fail to keep your appointments, you may have to start your six-month period over.
Some insurance plans may also require that you lose a certain amount of weight before the procedure. This helps makes your surgery safer, makes it easier for your doctor to perform the procedure, and will help shrink the size of your liver, which helps reduce the chance of surgical complications.
Some insurance plans require that patients undergo psychological counseling prior to bariatric surgery. This helps ensure that you are emotionally prepared for the lifestyle changes required after surgery, and also establishes if you have realistic expectations for your results after surgery. Be sure to keep all appointments as directed and to provide the required paperwork to your insurance company.