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Cost of Gastric Sleeve

Cost of Gastric Sleeve

Alongside the many emotional and personal changes need for surgery approval, you also need to decide how you will pay for your surgery. Weight loss surgery is an expensive surgery that requires thoughtful planning and organization of your finances.

Suppose you are not sure how to pay for your gastric sleeve surgery. In that case, you can always schedule an appointment with your medical insurance provider to determine your weight loss surgery coverage.  Most insurance companies cover weight loss surgery based on your current health condition.

You can receive approval from your insurance company by meeting individual requirements.  These requirements include:

  • BMI over 40
  • Cardiovascular Issues
  • Hypertension
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Arthritis
  • Mood Disorder

Any of these listed health conditions allow for you to have your insurance paid for partially or in full by your insurance company.

It may appear stressful, but try keeping a positive outlook towards your weight loss goal.

Cost of Gastric Sleeve

The average cost in the United States for a gastric sleeve is $14,900.  This price is significantly less than the next most common weight loss surgery.  On average, Gastric Bypass costs $23,000, which may or may not be fully covered by insurance.

To fully prepare yourself personally and financially for this permanent surgery, you need to perform adequate research into your health care plan.  You need to invest your time and energy reading, studying, and interviewing post-operative patients regarding their experiences with bariatric surgery.

Many patients successfully use their weight loss tool effectively and consistently, but after two years, others start to revert to old habits and regain the weight they had previously lost.

Weight loss surgery is an involving surgery that should be determined based on the amount of time you spend researching the cost and how you are affected by it.

Who Elects to have Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

According to research, the most common patient is middle and upper-class patients.  Because of the large price tag of $20,000, many moderate to lower class patients are reluctant to take this financial burden.  The positive aspect of expensive weight loss surgery is that insurance companies are covered more than ever before.

Insurance companies are starting to realize the importance of public health and how feasible this surgery is to have financial options.

How Should I Pay for Surgery?

You can either pay out of pocket or use your medical insurance to partially for fully cover your surgery.  Most insurance companies offer weight loss surgery coverage.  It would be best if you investigated your insurance policy to determine what and what is not covered.

Some medical insurance policies exclude weight loss surgery; therefore, you need to spend time and find out where your insurance is on this issue.  You can find out your health insurance status on weight loss surgery by calling your carrier directly.  Their number is usually found on the back of your insurance card.

You can also call a few local bariatric surgeons to determine if you have weight loss surgery coverage.  If you find out that you have insurance coverage, you need to find the right bariatric surgeon.

This can be through your primary care facility or a completely foreign medical practice.  It would be best to find a surgeon who operates in a bariatric hospital with a successful surgery rate.

Having a close group of confidants can help you navigate through this experience. 

No Insurance Coverage Options Explained

If you discover that your insurance does not cover weight loss surgery, do not panic.  There are still options you can consider.  Remain patient and focused because you will be taken care of in some way.

The options available are discussing weight loss surgery coverage with your employers.  Sometimes your PPO plan provides weight loss surgery coverage; HMO plans do not cover the surgery.

If you receive pushback from your employee, you can make a case that having surgery will make you a more productive worker because you will be in a much better health position.

If they are still resistant, you can also ask them specifically why they do not have a weight loss surgery option for their employees.  It would be best if you always advocated for your health.

If your employer is stubborn, you can always take out a medical loan.  Many bariatric programs work with various companies that provide loans for patients who want to have bariatric surgery.

It would be best if you spoke with your bariatric surgery to see which institutions have loans.  In some cases, your car cost more than bariatric surgery. Therefore this can be a necessary expense.

It would be best if you also looked into Medicaid.  Medicaid usually covers weight loss surgery expenses.  You can apply to see if you qualify for Medicaid and see if switching medical insurances is possible and feasible with your current situation.

Do not switch to Medicaid if it does not cover weight loss surgery.

Eating fresh and natural fruits and vegetables are best for your health. 

Approval Aftermath

When you are finally approved for surgery with your insurance company, you must follow an assortment of terms and conditions.  There are many expressly stated duties and appointments you must keep and maintain.

You should have a calendar that helps you organize all of your required tasks and appointments.

Also, keep a record of all of your medical information that may be needed for insurance purposes.

While maintaining all of your appointments, you should also begin implementing healthy habits.  These habits consist of starting a regular exercise program and incorporating a more nutritious diet.  You should include healthy fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.

Once you start incorporating all of these necessary changes, it will help ease your life after surgery because of your familiarity with what you need to succeed.  You keep in mind your short term and long term goals.

Having a set goal daily, weekly, and monthly will help you stay committed and lose weight safely.

My Insurance Experience

I had a successful experience with my health insurance.  My health insurance is through the state, and I live in a country where my entire gastric sleeve surgery was covered under my insurance as long as I met specific criteria.

The criteria I had to meet were a minimum BMI amount and any health co-morbidity issues directly related to my morbid obesity.  Because I met all of those criteria, then I was able to schedule my surgery successfully.

After meeting the surgery requirements, I prepared my mind and body for pre-surgery and post-surgery life.

My short term and long term goals were to incorporate more healthy foods and exercise regularly. I knew that these were healthy habits that needed to be cemented before surgery to help me achieve long term success.

I am now years post-op and have not gained any significant amount of weight. I attest this to my willpower and sticking to my healthy eating routine, which helps me manage stress with a healthy physical activity dose.

Also, I maintain my perspective.  I use my gastric sleeve tool and always remember my physical boundaries when it comes to food, which has helped me stay on track with my goals.

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Kelsey Renae Schulze

Author

Kelsey is a post-op bariatric patient who had sleeve surgery in 2018. She is a writer, focusing on a variety of topics given her background in legal studies and criminal justice.