Chapter 5

Bariatric Surgery Cost

In the previous chapters, we covered diet, risks after weight loss surgery, the most common types of bariatric surgery, and all the basic information about this topic. However, you’re not ready to make the final decision yet because one piece is still missing: bariatric surgery cost.

It usually takes a particular period of time, in some cases 1 to 3 years, from the moment you start considering weight loss surgery and to the actual time of the bariatric operation as it is a serious, life-changing decision that affects the rest of your life, thus requiring a lot of research.

You have to gather a lot of information and process them in order to be able to make up your mind whether to undergo weight loss surgery and if yes, which weight loss surgery options are the most responsive ones according to your specific circumstances.

One of the most significant concerns patients have during the research process is the exact amount of bariatric surgery cost, which is not a surprising fact as Gastric bypass surgery and gastric sleeve are among the 20 most expensive surgeries one can get.

To be able to make the right decision you have to know:

– The factors that affect bariatric surgery cost

– What sections cost of surgery includes

– Whether insurance covers it or not

– The ways you can have safe, secure, yet affordable surgery with a skilled bariatric surgeon

What Affects the Cost of Bariatric Surgery

If you start searching the price for applicants of different types of bariatric surgery on the internet, you’ll find the results pretty shocking as not only do the costs differ worldwide, but you’ll see a wide range of medical expenses inside one country as well.

Before jumping to any conclusion and choose a place and surgeon, you should know the causes for this variety.

1- Type of weight loss procedure

As you’ve read in our previous chapter on the basics of bariatric surgery, there are several types of weight loss surgery that will help you overcome morbid obesity. In addition to their procedures, they differ in costs as well.

Gastric band, gastric bypass, and vertical sleeve gastrectomy are the three most popular operations among obese patients, among which gastric bypass is the most expensive one.

2- Your Bariatric Surgeon

Depending on their location, expertise, weight loss surgery experience, and the complexity of the operation type you choose, the fees you have to pay to your surgeon differ.

3- The Hospital or Clinic You Choose

Even if your surgeon performs operations in more than one hospital, as the fees that hospitals ask for vary, you should pay attention to this point as well.

4- Additional Expenses

Apart from your surgeon’s fee and the hospital billing, there might be some additional costs. This money is usually paid for:

– Surgical assistant

– Consultation fee

– Anesthesiologist

– Devices

– Follow-up sessions and dietitian visits

Some medical centers offer packages to bariatric patients. Before going for one of these packages, make sure to know all the details and all the sections the overall package covers.

Before and After Surgery Costs

Your expenses do not limit to the actual surgery itself. In other words, your weight loss journey starts way before the operation itself and of course continues for the rest of your life.

Costs Before Surgery

First of all, if you choose a surgeon and place further than your location, you need to put some money aside for transportation.

However, some surgeons, even the ones that are not in the same country as yours, are able to handle the consultations online. So, this expense will be eliminated that way.

Your pre-operation healthy diet requires buying and preparing specific materials and supplements that you might not usually buy. However, depending on your previous eating habits, you might be paying even less on food because now there is a plan that you can eat based on.

Before the surgical procedure, you should start working out. Some people prefer to work with a professional coach, which requires spending a lot of money. However, you don’t need to do any special types of physical activities in order to lose some weight before the operation.

You can simply lose some extra weight by doing simple activities like walking on a daily basis. It’s not the complexity of exercise that matters, but its consistency.

Costs for Life After Surgery

The changes you have to make might have started sometime before surgery but continue not only till surgery recovery but for the following years as well.  For instance, your diet program changes forever not just for months after surgery.

You need nutritional supplements including vitamins and in some cases, protein shakes and just for a few weeks after surgery but for the rest of your life.

Some people prefer having a gym membership as it gives them a sense of necessity and obligation in addition to a regular exercise program. However, you can train yourself to be active even without a gym membership. Thanks to the internet, you can stay active at home using quality videos by proficient coaches at any level.

Be aware that in case you want to add up to the difficulty of your exercise, change your activity after wounds are healed to a great degree.

As you lose weight and your health risks decrease, you become a more outgoing person. Well, going out does not necessarily mean spending more money. There are tons of outdoor, free activities you can take in.

Your new appearance needs new clothes! Well, even though it is extra money you have to pay, it is a pleasant one, isn’t it?

Does My Health Insurance Pay for My Healthcare Expenses?

The truth is that insurance coverage varies depending on different factors. It is all related to your insurance company, the type of insurance plan, and of course your doctor. But if they accept to pay for your surgery, they should pay for the majority of costs, if not all.

Some insurers consider overweight people as high-risk patients as they are at a higher risk of harsh health comorbidities including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and high cholesterol.

However, some insurance companies believe obesity can be solved through nonsurgical treatments and obesity medicine. So, they won’t pay for the stomach surgery and its hospital costs.

How to Get Your Insurance Company to Pay for Your Surgery

Here’s a 4-step guide to convince your insurance company to pay for your surgery:

bariatric surgery covered by insurance

Here’s a detailed explanation of how the insurance coverage process for bariatric surgery works in the US.

First of all, you have to tick the boxes below:

– BMI over 40

or

– BMI over 35 and one of the following complications:

      • Obstructive sleep apnea
      • Coronary heart disease
      • Medically refractory hypertension
      • Type 2 diabetes
      • Otherobesity-related health issues

If you’re looking for a fast process, unfortunately, insurance is not the right option because even if you have the above-mentioned conditions, you should complete a 3- to 7-month supervised diet program. The aim of this process. This is to make sure you cannot get to your healthy weight without surgery.

The next step is to arrange a consultation session with your bariatric doctor.

Afterward, you should schedule a consultation with your care physician and get a medical clearance letter.

Then, the last document you need is an evaluation from a registered dietitian.

Finally, you should send all these documents alongside your medical history and challenges in nonsurgical attempts.

The insurance reviews your documents, which usually takes approximately one month. Then, they will inform you whether your application was rejected or approved.

However, even if your insurance company still does not pay for the operation, don’t worry. Where there’s a will, there is always a way.

Medical Travel, an Affordable Alternative

As we’ve mentioned before, the expenses weight loss surgery patients have to pay vary depending on the surgeon’s fees and location.

Here’s a comparison of the average cost of different types of bariatric procedures in five countries.

Medical Travel Benefits

If you’re considering medical tourism, it’d be better if you knew its benefits as well.

– Affordability and cost-effectiveness

– Reasonable prices of international travels

– Travel opportunities

– Immediate service

– Improvements in global standards of healthcare and bariatric care

– Easier communications than before

Points to Remember When Going on Medical Travels

If you’re considering surgeries’ overall cost, these are the things you need to consider:

Costs of Obesity vs. Costs of Stomach Surgery

If you’ve done complete research, yet still think it is not worth paying this money to get rid of your excess weight, you’d better revise your decision just by taking a look at the cost of obesity.

Staying neutral and taking no actions to resolve obesity just increases your health issues including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, different types of cancer, high mortality rate, type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, kidney and liver disease, and many other risks of complications that affect your overall health conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the overall cost of medical care related to complications caused by obesity was about $147 billion in 2008. Unfortunately, as adult obesity rates increases, this number also rises every day.

Even if you’re so lucky that have not experienced these difficulties yet, still you have to pay money on regular tests and obesity screening to make sure everything is OK.

Moreover, if you’re willing to get your health back by nonsurgical solutions, you should know that cost of weight loss through these methods is even more in the long run. Also, even in successful cases, most of these methods lose their effectiveness after some time.

Wrap It up
Whether you’re certain about the type of your surgery or not, it’d be better to take a quick look at chapter 3. Also, chapter 5 includes a complete guide on weight loss surgery in Turkey, one of the current most popular places among obese patients.
There’s only one chapter left till you can make the best decision for the rest of your life. Let’s check the final chapter of your bariatric journey.