How To Pay For Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss is an essential part of healthy living for many of us - and if diet and exercise alone aren’t yielding the desired results, you may need to consider surgery.
There are a number of bariatric surgical procedures that can help you shed excess pounds, improve your overall health, and boost your longevity.
In this article, we’ll describe some of them in detail and go over your financing options - including weight loss surgery loans - should you require this type of treatment.
The Factors That Will Determine How Much You Can Expect To Pay
While the average bariatric surgery in the US costs between $20,000 and $25,000, you may end up paying considerably more or less than this amount. There are several variables that can have a big impact on your estimated surgical costs. These variables include the following.
The Type Of Surgery
Weight loss surgery is a broad category that contains many different types of procedures. The specific treatment you undergo is a big factor in the price you’ll end up having to pay.
- Gastric Bypass - This requires your surgeon to create a smaller stomach inside your existing one so that less food is digested. The estimated costs of this operation range between $15,000 and $25,000.
- Gastric Banding - This involves placing an inflatable band (called a lap band) over the top section of your stomach, effectively making it smaller. This is a lower-cost alternative to bypass surgery and usually costs between $10,000 and $18,000.
- Biliopancreatic Diversion With Duodenal Switch - A small, tube-shaped stomach will be created and attached to a section of your small intestine. This is the costliest procedure by far - prices range from $20,000 to $30,000.
The Hospital And Surgeon You Choose
You may have noticed that bariatric surgery costs can vary considerably even for the same procedure. One of the reasons for this is that hospital costs and surgeon’s fees differ enormously. There are several reasons for this.
- Your Surgeon’s Experience & Reputation: A seasoned specialist with a long list of patients and a track record of successful operations is likely to be more expensive.
- The Specific Hospital You Choose: Facilities that offer the latest cutting-edge equipment, private rooms, enhanced patient rehabilitation services and other perks will certainly be more expensive than a standard hospital - and this could inflate your bill by thousands of dollars.
It takes more than just a good surgeon and a cutting-edge hospital to ensure a successful weight loss procedure. There are other factors that also contribute to the final cost of your surgery.
- Anesthesiologist's Fee: You may be billed up to $3500 for this essential part of your surgery.
- Medication: Your surgeon will most likely prescribe specialized treatment before and after your surgery. This could come to several hundred dollars depending on the procedure you undergo.
- Surgical Assistant's Fee: This may be billed together with your surgeon’s fee (and sometimes with the anesthetist’s fee too).
- Follow-Up Procedures: A major surgery involving the internal organs almost always requires follow up visits, x-rays, and scans to ensure that the procedure was successful.
What About Health Insurance?
Your health insurer should cover some - if not most - of the costs of bariatric surgery. You can always finance the remaining bill using a weight loss surgery loan or one of the other options we’ll cover below.
- If you’re insured, you’ll want to check ahead of time that the specific procedure you need to have is covered and what kind of deductible, copayment, and out-of-pocket limits apply to your policy.
- It’s worth noting that the Affordable Care Act has caused many states to classify weight loss surgery as an essential health benefit. This means that insurers have to cover this type of surgery.
Whether you plan to pay for your surgery in cash or have your health insurance cover some of the costs, you’ll probably need access to some medical financing. Here are some of the lending products you can use to pay for your surgery.
- Medical Loans: These are unsecured personal loans that may only be used to cover medical expenses. The higher your credit score, the lower your APR (fees and interest) for this type of loan.
- A Bariatric Surgery Payment Plan: Some surgeons with their own clinics offer patients the option of repaying their medical bills over several months or even years. The advantage of this arrangement is that the payments are usually interest-free.
- Home Equity Loans: You can borrow against the equity in your mortgage (the difference between your home’s market value and the amount you still owe on your mortgage). Since this is a secured loan, you may benefit from a lower APR.
- Your Savings: If you’re going to need some cash to cover an insurance copayment, you may have enough saved up in your emergency fund to cover it.
Bariatric surgery can help you lose weight and enjoy a healthier, longer life. While this type of treatment isn’t cheap, it’s more feasible to pay for it once you know the exact costs involved. Financing your medical expenses using a bariatric surgery loan is a good way of settling your hospital bill in fixed monthly installments and paying it down for good.