Weight loss surgery: Is it covered by insurance? Do I qualify? What else do I need to know?

Weight loss surgery is a big step that can come with a big price tag. Does insurance help pay for gastric sleeve surgery? Here’s what you need to know.

The average cost of weight loss surgery in the United States ranges between $17,000 and $26,000 (without any insurance coverage), according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Whether insurance covers some of this cost depends on the insurance provider and the plan.

Does insurance cover weight loss surgery?

Many insurance plans do cover bariatric surgery, but there are variations in that coverage. Insurance coverage also may be affected by a facility or program’s accreditation by a recognized institution. The Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) is just such an institution. According to its website, MBSAQIP accredits inpatient and outpatient weight loss surgery centers in the U.S. and Canada that have undergone an independent, voluntary, and rigorous peer evaluation in accordance with nationally recognized bariatric surgical standards. This accreditation not only promotes uniform standard benchmarks, but also supports continuous quality improvement. Norton Weight Management has recently received this accreditation.

“Once you decide to undergo a bariatric [weight loss] procedure, you have time to do research on insurance coverage, because you’ll be preparing your body for surgery,” said Meredith C. Sweeney, M.D., a general, bariatric and laparoscopic surgeon with Norton Surgical Specialists. Dr. Sweeney sees weight loss surgery patients at Norton Weight Management Services.

If your insurance covers weight loss surgery, you can begin looking for a facility and surgeon. Most programs offer free seminars for weight loss procedure candidates. If your health insurance policy doesn’t cover weight loss surgery, you can look into financing the procedure.

Bariatric surgery seminars

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