Bariatric surgery is one of the most popular methods for managing weight loss for individuals that are considered obese. It is the last resort for people that have tried many ways to lose weight but can’t.
One concern that most patients have is the cost of bariatric surgery. The costs related to these types of operations vary greatly from surgery to surgery as well as location. Also, the prices could be different depending on the patient and the type of services that they expect.
The average price for bariatric surgery runs from $15,000 to $36,000 depending on the operation type, the location of the professional, and the professionals themselves. The three most popular types of bariatric surgery include Lap-Band surgery, gastric sleeve surgery, and gastric bypass. These three operations require a different amount of surgical technique.
Cost of Lap-Band Surgery
Lap-Band surgery (gastric banding) is the least invasive of the bariatric surgeries. The process includes placing a band around the stomach to make it smaller. This is usually accomplished with the use of a laparoscope and requires no open surgery. This translates into lower costs and less recovery time.
Although some bariatric surgeons will charge more or less, the average price range for this surgery is between $9,500 and $24,000. This number may or may not include follow-up visits or possible medications for the patient. The cost is different from city to city such as New York City has an average price of $22,000 and Las Vegas has an average of $11,000.
Cost of Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Gastric sleeve surgery is more complicated than Lap-Band surgery but doesn’t require the same open surgery that most gastric bypasses do. Instead, gastric sleeve surgery is usually laparoscopic in nature requiring only a couple of small incisions used to insert a tool for the work. The stomach is reduced in size by about 85% leaving behind a sleeve-like shaped stomach. This reduces the amount of food that can be put into the stomach.
The cost associated with gastric sleeve surgery is a little more than that of Lap-Band surgery due to the involved nature of the operation. Average expenses of the surgery range from $12,500 to $24,000. This may be different in different cities, for example in Boston the average price of the surgery is $35,000 and in San Antonio, it is $13,500.
Cost of Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery is the most invasive of the three traditional weight-loss surgeries and is somewhat more expensive. Also, there is a longer recovery time due to the open nature of the operation. The surgery requires the surgeon to reduce the size of the stomach substantially creating a small pocket at the top of the stomach.
After this is completed, the surgeon will create a new connection between the small pouch created and the lowest point in the lower intestine. This is the new route for the food to travel ensuring that it misses most of the digestive process.
This means fewer calories and nutrients are absorbed by the body, and less food can be taken into the smaller stomach. The average cost of this surgery ranges from $15,000 to $35,000 depending on the location, surgeon, recovery, and the patient’s overall condition and needs. For example, in New York City the average cost of this surgery is $35,000 while in Atlanta it is $19,900.
What is Included in the Weight Loss Surgery Costs?
When you are considering how much weight loss surgery costs, you will need to remember what is included in the price. They typically include pre-operative consultations, the hospital fees for the procedure, and the stay during recovery, medications, anesthesia, the professionals doing the work, and any medications. It could also include lab work and x-rays.
There are other costs that may or may not be included at the expense of weight loss surgery. Some costs might include consultation with a nutritionist or expert, exercise or fitness training, follow-up appointments, and additional medications. For the bariatric surgery operation to be effective, it is often necessary for the patient to make significant life changes such as diet and exercise. These things can come at a price that is not a part of the weight loss surgery costs.
Prices for Medical Tourism
Medical tourism, the act of traveling abroad for affordable healthcare. Medical tourism has exploded in the most recent history, especially for weight loss surgery. Individuals who lack insurance, who are under-insured, or who face high deductibles, can save thousands by opting for medical tourism.
The leading destination for medical tourism is Mexico. Dozens of surgical centers sell affordable self-pay options. Undergoing weight loss surgery in Mexico can save individuals 70% of the prices of bariatric surgery in the U.S. or Canada.
Paying for Weight Loss Surgery
Regardless of the type of surgery, the cost will need to be paid in some way. There are several options for paying for the surgery depending on the facility and your situation. Most facilities will provide you with a discount if you can pay for the surgery in cash. This is an excellent way to save on the overall price of the procedure.
In some cases, you will find that your health insurance provider will pay a portion or cover the surgery. They may pay 85% and leave you with a small amount to pay out of pocket. This can provide you with reliable options and will depend a great deal on the requirements for coverage according to the insurance plan. It could be beneficial to check with them regarding coverage before you discuss the options with your physician.
Another option for paying for the bariatric surgery you choose is to set up a financing plan for the facility. Some institutions will offer you credit if you fit the criteria. They might also offer you a payment plan that you can handle on a monthly basis. This ultimately depends on the facility and your financial situation at the time of the surgery.
Which Insurance Providers Cover Bariatric Surgery?
Check if your insurance company or Medicare insurance covers weight loss surgery – and which procedures are covered.
- Blue Cross
- Blue Shield of California Group
- Centene Corp Group
- First Health
- Great West Healthcare
- Healthspring Pro
- HCSC (Health Care Services Corporation)
- High Mark
- Hip Insurance Group
- Independence Blue Cross Group
- United Healthcare
- WellPoint Group
Medicaid and Medicare
Does Medicaid Cover Bariatric Surgery?
When coverage applies, Medicaid does cover gastric bypass, gastric sleeve surgery, and Lap-Band Surgery in most cases.