Cost of gastric bypass surgery
If you are considering gastric bypass surgery to control your body weight, it is important to consider the cost of gastric bypass surgery, including what may be covered by health insurance, what might not be covered, and what you must do in order to improve your chances of having gastric bypass surgery partially or fully covered by insurance.
The first step to determining if the cost of gastric bypass surgery will be covered is to visit the benefits section of your health insurance plan. It may be included in the original paperwork given to you with the plan, and it may not. Many employers choose not to adopt health insurance plans that cover bariatric surgery, including the cost of gastric bypass surgery. If your insurance does not currently cover gastric bypass surgery costs, find out if you can choose a different option from the human resources person at your place of business.
After you have assured that the cost of gastric bypass surgery could potentially be covered by your insurer, you need to determine if you weigh enough to qualify for bariatric surgery. Many people are overweight in the United States and would like to weigh less, but there are actually levels of obesity that do not qualify for surgery. This is because in people that do not weigh enough, the risk of bariatric surgery may outweigh the health benefits of losing weight. In general one has to have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 40 to qualify or a BMI of 35 if one has at least one serious disease directly caused by obesity like type 2 diabetes, for example. Your health insurance carrier may have a different threshold for coverage.
The third step is to attempt to lose weight in some other way, besides surgically. Talk to your doctor about weight loss plans. Make sure your doctor documents your goals and plan! You will need to prove that you earnestly tried to lose weight before resorting to gastric bypass surgery. Many insurance plans require a year or more of faithful commitment to a weight loss and exercise program. Memberships to gymnasiums, workout diaries, and personal trainers are all good ways to establish a record of your weight loss efforts.
The fourth step is to obtain pre-approval from your insurance company. Be careful at this point. By this time you should have met with a bariatric surgeon to discuss the cost of bariatric surgery and other medical issues. Good surgeons will provide a free initial evaluation or consultation and have people on staff to help collect the necessary paperwork for the insurance company. Once one has pre-approval or authorization you are much more likely to have the cost of gastric bypass surgery covered.
For the uninsured, gastric bypass surgery costs can be quite expensive. For example, it is not uncommon to see the cost of gastric bypass surgery climb into the $30,000 range. Often most surgeons will offer financing options and sliding scale payment plans based on financial need. When you think about the health care costs and costs to self esteem that come with being morbidly obese, even paying the cost of gastric bypass surgery out-of-pocket can be well worth it for the long term. Relatively, most people spend a similar amount on an automobile. Gastric bypass surgery can often provide a permanent weight lossâ€”a dream that many obese patients believe is impossible.