Dr. Blackstone shares whether or not most insurance companies will pay for adjustable gastric bands and gastric bypass surgery.
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Many insurance companies, especially large, self-funded companies, do have some type of benefit for bariatric surgery. Almost no one has a benefit for obesity. So that means that you’ve probably paid out of pocket for your medical treatment, any kind of diets you went on, even behavioral therapy sometimes you have to pay out of pocket for. When you get to surgery and they have a benefit, it’s very important to read the small print because a lot of times they have qualifications like, “I need to do six months of medically supervised weight loss by a doctor,” or “I need to be seeing a nutritionist or go to support groups.” So you need to know exactly what it’s going to take for you to qualify. Many programs that the surgeons have in their practices will have a place for you to do those kind of qualifications as part of their program. On the flip side, there’s a lot of financing now in place for this. Because there is no core benefit for obesity treatment in the United States right now, many people are left to have to pay for these procedures on their own and so, what that means is they are going to have to either borrow the money or finance it somehow. So that’s all, there’s a couple of resources. Again, the adjustable gastric band companies have made good financing at low rates available and they cover both the band and the bypass. So that’s a good place to go for a resource.