Bariatric surgery has become an increasingly popular and effective solution for individuals struggling with obesity and its associated health risks. Among the various bariatric procedures, gastric sleeve surgery has garnered significant attention due to its success rates and comparatively lower risks. However, understanding gastric sleeve costs, financing options, and insurance coverage for gastric sleeve surgery can be challenging. This comprehensive guide delves into these aspects to help you make informed decisions about your journey toward improved health.
Gastric sleeve surgery, or sleeve gastrectomy, is a weight loss procedure in which about 80% of the stomach is removed, leaving behind a tube-shaped “sleeve.” This smaller stomach restricts food intake and promotes satiety, leading to significant weight loss and improvements in obesity-related health conditions. The surgery is typically recommended for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above or a BMI of 35 or above with obesity-related health issues.
The cost of gastric sleeve surgery can vary widely based on factors such as the surgeon’s expertise, the geographical location of the surgery, and the patient’s specific medical needs. In the United States, the average cost of gastric sleeve surgery ranges from $15,000 to $25,000. This price generally includes pre-operative tests, the surgical procedure, anesthesia, hospital stay, and post-operative care. To obtain an accurate cost estimate, it is essential to consult with your surgeon and get a detailed breakdown of the expenses involved.
It’s important to note that gastric sleeve surgery may be more affordable in other countries, such as Mexico or India, where medical tourism is popular. However, patients should exercise caution and thoroughly research the credentials and track records of international surgeons and hospitals before pursuing this option, as the quality of care may vary.
Many health insurance providers cover bariatric surgery, including gastric sleeve surgery, if the procedure is deemed medically necessary. To qualify for coverage, patients must typically meet specific criteria, such as having a BMI above a certain threshold and demonstrating a history of unsuccessful weight loss attempts through diet and exercise. It is vital to contact your insurance provider to determine if they cover the procedure and the necessary documentation required.
In some cases, insurance providers may require patients to participate in a medically supervised weight loss program before approving coverage for bariatric surgery. These programs typically involve regular consultations with healthcare professionals, dietary counseling, and exercise regimens.
Navigating the insurance approval process can be challenging, but working closely with your bariatric surgery team can make the process smoother. They can help you gather the necessary documentation, submit appeals if your initial claim is denied, and guide you through each step of the process.
If your insurance does not cover gastric sleeve surgery or you have high out-of-pocket costs, various financing options can help make the procedure more affordable.
Personal Savings and Budgeting
Setting aside money in a dedicated savings account or adjusting your budget to allocate funds towards the cost of surgery is a practical approach. By reducing discretionary spending and prioritizing your health, you can accumulate the necessary funds over time.
Medical loans are specialized personal loans designed to cover healthcare expenses. They can be obtained through banks, credit unions, or online lenders. When considering a medical loan, it’s essential to compare interest rates, terms, and conditions to find the best option for your financial situation. Keep in mind that your credit score will affect your eligibility and the interest rate offered.
Some bariatric surgery centers offer in-house payment plans, allowing patients to pay for the procedure in installments. These plans may be interest-free or carry a low-interest rate, making them an attractive option for many patients. Be sure to ask your surgeon or surgical center if they offer payment plans and the terms associated with them.
Health Care Credit Cards
Health care credit cards are designed to cover medical expenses not covered by insurance. These cards often offer promotional financing with low or no interest for a certain period, making them a viable option for funding your gastric sleeve surgery. However, it’s essential to be aware of the interest rates and terms that apply once the promotional period ends, as they can be higher than traditional credit cards.
Home Equity Loans or Lines of Credit
If you have equity in your home, you may be able to secure a home equity loan or line of credit to finance your gastric sleeve surgery. These loans typically offer lower interest rates than personal loans or credit cards, as your home is collateral. However, this option carries the risk of losing your home if you’re unable to make the payments.
Financial Assistance Programs
Some hospitals and bariatric surgery centers offer financial assistance programs for patients who demonstrate financial need. These programs may provide discounts or sliding-scale fees based on your income level. Be sure to ask your surgeon or hospital if they offer any financial assistance programs and the eligibility requirements.
Gastric sleeve surgery can be a life-changing procedure for those struggling with obesity, but the cost of surgery can be a significant barrier. Understanding your financing options and exploring various avenues can make this life-saving surgery more accessible and improve your overall health and well-being. It’s essential to have open and honest conversations with your surgical team, insurance provider, and financial institutions to ensure you have a clear understanding of the costs, coverage, and financing options available to you. By taking the time to research and plan, you can take the first step towards a healthier, happier life.
Interested in learning more about covering gastric sleeve costs through financing? Explore your options through our lending partner network.
United Credit strives to keep the content shared on this blog accurate and up to date. You are urged to consult with business, financial, legal, tax and/or other advisors and/or medical providers with respect to any information presented. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and have not been approved or otherwise endorsed by any financial or medical institution. This content is intended for informational purposes only.
As Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Nate expertly drives revenue growth for United Credit by leading sales and marketing strategies across all channels. With over 20 years of experience working with global brands in various industries, Nate has a proven track record of boosting sales, expanding market share, and building strong relationships. His unique ‘right-brain + left-brain’ approach combines business acumen and strategic thinking with striking creative execution, ensuring United Credit’s sales and marketing efforts consistently deliver results for continued success.
Matthew is the President and Founder of United Credit. Matt founded fintech company United Medical Credit in 2011 to connect consumers and businesses with an array of experienced, innovative financing solutions. In 2022, the company grew and became United Credit, fueling an expansion into retail markets while retaining its expertise in specialty healthcare.
Since its founding, Matt has provided leadership for all aspects of the Company, emphasizing long-term growth while ensuring United Credit delivers value to its consumers, merchants, and business partners. The Company has risen in the fintech space as a preferred consumer financing partner under his tenure.
Matt is also an active member of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), the world’s largest leadership community of company chief executives.