Bariatric Surgery Insurance
Is Bariatric Surgery Insurance Available?
Bariatric surgery is a procedure used in the treatment of severe obesity. The surgery targets reducing the size of the digestive system, specifically the stomach and the small intestines. Reducing the size of the stomach creates a feeling of fullness faster, thus reducing food intake. By reducing the size of the small intestines, food absorption is reduced, decreasing calorie intake.
With the increase in cases of obesity, many insurance companies are now offering bariatric surgery insurance. Once you decide to have the surgery, be sure to consult your insurance agent to find out if the procedure is covered.
The most common bariatric surgery carried out is gastric bypass and the average cost of the procedure is $20,000. In addition, it is likely that there will be other post operative costs such as therapy, diet and fitness plan and probably cosmetic surgery required as a result of the weight loss.Currently, both private and public insurance companies offer bariatric surgery insurance. Some companies may offer complete cover, that is, they foot the entire bill for the surgery. In some cases they pay 75% – 80% of the total bill. The U.S. government public medical coverage for those aged 65 and above, known as Medicare, offers bariatric surgery insurance. Medicaid, the government’s coverage for low-income earners also covers bariatric surgery, though this is varies from state to state.
There are various requirements needed by an insurance company for them to offer bariatric surgery insurance. These may vary from one company to another but there are some basics ones. For private insurers, they require a letter from your personal doctor or bariatric surgeon, showing that the surgery is absolutely necessary. The letter covers areas such as your weight history, BMI, weight related complications you may be suffering from such as high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. A report on previous weight loss attempts you have made in the past is also required.
Medicare does not require any letter from your doctor. However, they do require that the procedure is carried out in certain specific designated centers. Such centers have to be certified by the American College of Surgeons. This requirement is meant to ensure the procedure is carried out by a team of very experienced doctors and hence minimize chances of death or complications after surgery.
Weight loss surgery is an expensive affair and being able to get bariatric surgery insurance can be very helpful. Most centers offering the procedures are aware of the financial plans of insurance companies and they can offer you advice on the same. As a parting remark though, prevention is better than cure. Practice a healthy lifestyle and there will be no need for surgery.
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