Welcome to a comprehensive guide on gastric balloon cost. Before making up your mind about the surgery and where to get the procedure, you should be acknowledged all the factors that can affect the price, along with other possible options that are more cost-efficient as it is essential to make an informed decision.
The cost of gastric balloon procedure can vary due to the type of balloon that will be performed. Each type has its own characteristics, and these can indirectly affect the price. In this article, we will discuss the average prices of different types of gastric balloons and what their possible additional fees can be. Along with that, we will also discover more cost-efficient options along with more affordable options and how can you get them.
How much is a gastric balloon?: Breaking down the cost of balloon types
The gastric balloon costs start from $2.000 and go up to $10.000 depending on the type and the brand. While swallowable gastric balloons are between $6.500 and $10.000, endoscopic gastric balloons are more cost-efficient and their price range is between $4.500 and $9.000.
An intra gastric balloon cost may be different from the cost of a Spatz gastric balloon cost. Because the duration, application, number of balloons, balloon material, or the material used to fill the balloon can vary for each of these types and these can affect the prices. So, what are the gastric balloon prices? Let’s review the average cost of balloon types.
Factors affecting gastric balloon cost
There are various factors that affect the gastric balloon cost. One of the factors can be the cost of living. If the hospital of your choice is located in a city with a high cost of living, the price of gastric balloon can also be higher than in another city that has a lower cost of living.
Another factor is the type of gastric balloon. The cost of swallowable gastric balloon can be higher than an Orebra gastric balloon cost. Because a swallowable gastric balloon can consist of 2 or 3 balloons, you will be paying for each balloon.
The price can also vary depending on the surgeon experience. If the bariatric surgeon of your choice has 15+ years of experience and is renowned for this procedure, they might cost more than another doctor that has around 10 years of experience.
Keep these expenses in mind: additional fees
Some clinics or hospitals may have some extra costs, also known as hidden fees. These fees may or may not include:
- Surgical tools
- Surgical staff
- Gloves, surgical gowns, etc.
- Sterile saline solution/air
- Operation room – Hourly
- Observation room for a few hours after surgery
- Prescription meds
- Regular check-ups
- Preoperative tests – x-ray, blood test, cardiology, psychology
Hospitals in the US and/or the UK can include these additional fees in the hospital bill. However, Some countries, like Turkey and Mexico, include all these additional fees in their final quote. And you may find these prices way more affordable than they are in the US or the UK.
Financing for the gastric balloon and insurance aspects
Financing for the gastric balloon is not a hard thing to do as it is more affordable than other more invasive weight loss surgeries.
There are numerous financing options for the gastric balloon such as:
- Covering the amount your insurance doesn’t
- Credits cards
- Payment plan options
- Permanent life insurance loans
- Paying the total amount in advance
- Retirement plan loans
- Secured and unsecured medical loans
- Self-pay discounts
In some of these options, you can get a loan from your bank. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind. When you get a loan from the bank, you will have to pay the interest as well. You can pay monthly, and most banks ask you how would you like to pay your debts. Meaning you will be asked how many months you plan to pay your debts.
Interest is the cost of borrowing. The rate of interest can vary from bank to bank and it can increase if you agree to a longer payment plan. It is important to pay your debt in time so that your credit score does not decrease.
Most insurance companies do not cover gastric balloons as it is still relatively new and therefore insurance companies still consider it purely a cosmetic surgery. So it is recommended that you consult your GP about the policies of your insurance.
Is the gastric balloon covered by NHS?
NHS does not usually cover the gastric balloon unless there are exceptional circumstances. If the patient’s weight is affecting their health greatly and other methods have been proven unhelpful, NHS can cover their gastric balloon procedure. Make sure to contact your GP (general practitioner) about the policies of the NHS and if you qualify or not.
How about Medicare for the gastric balloon?
Medicare does not cover gastric balloons under any circumstances, yet. The gastric balloon is relatively new compared to gastric sleeve or bypass so, according to Medicare, “…the long-term safety and efficacy of the device in the treatment of obesity has not been established.”
Medicare covers some of the bariatric procedures such as gastric bypass and lap band surgery. And for Medicare to cover these surgeries, there are specific criteria you need to meet. For instance, you need to have a 40 BMI and over. Or you need to have a 35 BMI and an underlying condition, such as type 2 diabetes.
Keep in mind that these policies can change over time. That is why you should consult your GP to learn about their existing and new policies. They might cover gastric balloons in the future.
Does Medicaid cover the gastric balloon?
Medicaid covers gastric balloons in some states in the United States. To find out if Medicaid covers gastric balloons in your state, you should go to the Medicaid office in that state to find out as policies can always change.
For Medicaid to cover your gastric balloon, you should meet certain requirements. For instance, people who have over 40 BMI are eligible for coverage. Also, people who have a 35 BMI and have a weight-related condition are eligible. These conditions can be type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
Here are more cost-efficient options to consider
The gastric balloon may require another procedure to achieve more weight loss in the long term. And that may cost you more as you might need to have the balloon inserted again. So, there are other methods that can be considered more cost-efficient.
Gastric sleeve: Gastric sleeve, or sleeve gastrectomy procedure, is an inpatient minimally invasive procedure. Around 80% of your stomach will be removed from your body with this procedure, causing you to eat smaller portions and consume fewer calories. As a result of this procedure, you can expect to lose 55%-75% of your excess weight in the span of a year. There are also other types of gastric sleeve that are even less invasive.
Gastric bypass: Gastric bypass aka roux-en-y operation is also an inpatient, laparoscopic procedure. Your stomach will be made smaller into the shape of a walnut and your small intestine will be rerouted, causing you to eat less and decrease the absorption of nutrients and calories. You can expect to lose over 70% of your excess weight with this single procedure.
Gastric Botox: Gastric botox, aka stomach botox, is a non-invasive weight loss procedure. It is performed via an endoscopy. Basically, botulinum toxin (Botox) is injected into the stomach. This temporarily relaxes the muscles on the stomach wall, slowing the stomach emptying. Indirectly will cause you to feel full faster, and the feeling of fullness will last longer. You can expect to lose 5% – 10% of your body weight after only one session of gastric botox, which lasts 3 months. It costs around 1.000€ per session.
Budget-friendly options to explore with medical tourism
If you do not wish to have any type of invasive surgery yet still want to get a more affordable gastric balloon treatment, there is always medical tourism. They offer all-inclusive packages. These gastric balloon packages include most services such as free consultation, pre-op tests, peri-op and post-op medications, hotel accommodation, and transportation. While UK and USA offer $8K on average, medically touristic places offer $3K on average with all-inclusive package deals.
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Tate CM, Geliebter A. Intragastric Balloon Treatment for Obesity: Review of Recent Studies. Advances in Therapy. 2017;34(8):1859-1875.