How To Afford Weight Loss Surgery Without Insurance

Posted by Jason Radecke on Thu, Nov 15, 2012

When insurance coverage is denied and an appeal doesn’t work, patients often stress about how they’ll afford the cost of weight loss surgery. For some patients, bariatric surgery can be lifesaving, but it can also be expensive. Being denied insurance coverage for your bariatric surgery can be discouraging, especially when your health, or even your life, is on the line. empty pocket

But for the patients who look hard enough, bariatric surgery can be affordable. There are multiple payment options available to patients who just don’t have the necessary cash on hand. Many patients find that achieving a healthy lifestyle is worth more than the cost of surgery. 


Loans are one option patients can turn to when they’ve been denied insurance coverage for bariatric surgery. When considering taking out a loan, it’s important for patients to talk with their doctors to map out how much their surgery, and other expenses associated with surgery will total up to. This information will help patients in determining the loan amount they need, as well as how much they can expect to pay toward the loan each month and when it will be paid off. Knowing the costs will allow patients to budget. Patients should also keep in mind that interest will need to be paid along with the loan amount. This can increase the overall cost of their medical expenses. 

Budgeting for Expenses

Weight loss surgery can come with a lot of expenses, so going on that journey without insurance can be intimidating. When budgeting for weight loss surgery, patients should consider all of the costs associated with it. Talking with your surgeon or bariatric surgical center is the best way to determine the costs associated with your specific bariatric procedure.

The medical expenses of a bariatric procedure often include: 

  • surgery
  • nutrition consultations
  • psychologist appointments
  • medical tests and medications
  • anesthesia expenses

Payment Plans

The hospital or bariatric surgical center where you choose to have your surgery performed may also offer payment plans. These plans allow patients to pay off chunks of the cost of their bariatric procedure, rather than having to pay for the full amount upfront. The cost of surgery for these self pay patients is often less than the cost of surgery for those patients who have been approved for insurance coverage for bariatric surgery, making the bill easier to swallow.

You should check with the hospital of bariatric surgical center to determine when your payments will be expected, how much each payment will be, and how long it will take you to finish paying.

Tax Write Offs

The good news is, your medical expenses may be tax deductible. If you itemize your deductions on a Form 1040, Schedule A, you may be able to deduct medical expenses you paid that year for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents, so long as they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. After December 31, 2012, these medical expenses must exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income. You can visit the Internal Revenue Service website to find more details on which medical expenses you can deduct.

Deductible medical expenses can include: 

  • Payment of fees for your doctor, surgeon and psychologist
  • Payment for in-patient hospital care, plus food and lodging charged by them
  • Payment for drugs which require a prescription
  • The cost of transportation (gas, oil, taxi fare, parking fees, etc.) essential to medical care that qualify as medical expenses.

Once you’ve found a payment option that works for you, you’ll be on your way to experiencing a renewed sense of health, confidence, and an improved quality and length of life. Paying for the surgery by yourself can be tough, but the trade off can be great. With the right payment options, bariatric surgery can be affordable.
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