Access to Care: Is Obesity Surgery a Standard Health Insurance Benefit?

Posted by Jason Radecke on Mon, Apr 02, 2018

People looking to have weight loss surgery often ask if obesity surgery is a standard health insurance benefit. The answer actually depends on a few things. It can depend on specific things such as which insurance company you have, which policy you have, what surgery you are looking to have done, and so on. Before considering the surgery, look at your options. Some insurance companies are still struggling to see the benefits in weight loss surgery, and a lot of insurance companies only cover certain procedures. It is important to contact your provider to find out if your policy covers the surgery you are looking to have.

Which Procedures Are Normally Covered?

Although this answer can change depending on which provider you have, most insurance companies have updated their policies to cover some of the older procedures. Newer procedures that are still in the trial process are typically not covered. Currently, gastric sleeves, laparoscopic gastric bypass and lap gastric bands are typically covered by most major insurance companies, but this doesn’t necessarily mean your policy will cover it. The best way to find out which procedures your policy offers is to call the number on the back of your insurance card and speak to your carrier directly.

Why Should Insurance Cover Weight Loss Surgery?

There are many reasons up for debate as to why weight loss surgery should be covered by insurance. One of the main reasons people argue is that healthcare providers end up spending way more money in insurance to cover obesity disease related issues, such as diabetes and heart disease. Managing these diseases is more costly, because of frequent doctor visits and high cost medications.  

With bariatric surgery, the money goes toward helping people start a healthier, happier lifestyle, versus treating and managing chronic health and worsening conditions. Studies even show that during the process of getting approved for surgery, health tends to deteriorate even more. The road to recovery shouldn’t be so hard. To help raise awareness for the benefits of weight loss surgery, click here.

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Advocate to Support Access to Care

Because not all health insurance providers see obesity surgery as a standard health benefit, advocacy is essential to the long-term solution for access to care. It can have several benefits for the issue, such as raising awareness, educating the public, and changing laws and regulations to make them more fair for people who struggle with obesity.

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) has made it incredibly easy to advocate to your elected officials for coverage of weight loss surgery. The OAC’s Legislative Action Center was created to help people who struggle with this disease or people who support the community connect with elected officials and advocate for change. Click here to have access to all of your elected officials, and begin writing to them to support the cause.

The steps to undergoing weight loss surgery is a journey that takes motivation and organization. Thankfully over the last few years, since the medical data is compelling more insurance companies are seeing the primary health benefit of bariatric surgery and are starting to cover it.  

With the help of advocates like you and me, we can fight to make obesity surgery a standard health insurance benefit.

If you or someone you know is looking to take the next step in their weight loss journey, contact us today to schedule a time to meet with one of our surgeons. Creating a happy, and healthy life is only a consultation away.

Tags: Weight Loss Surgery Covered by Insurance

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