Does Health Insurance Cover Bariatric Surgery?
Health Insurance

Does Health Insurance Cover Bariatric Surgery?

Obesity occurs when the body fails to burn high amounts of fats and sugars. However, genetics and pre–existing health conditions can also lead to obesity. In its advanced stages, obesity can lead to serious health issues. While doctors generally recommend that people struggling with obesity follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen, obese patients may sometime need to undergo bariatric surgery. Let us find out the bariatric surgery costs and whether it is covered under health insurance.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery, sometimes referred to as gastric bypass surgery, is essentially a weight–loss surgery. This surgery reduces the potential risk of life–threatening illnesses like cardiac arrests, type–2 diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., which stem from excess weight.

Deemed as an invasive procedure, bariatric surgery involves the slicing of the stomach or intestine. Surgeons alter the gastrointestinal tract so that the patient can reduce their food intake. The most common types of bariatric surgery are:

  • Roux–en–Y Gastric Bypass: In this procedure, the surgeon cuts open the top portion of the stomach into a smaller portion, divides the small intestine and connects it to the small pouch.

  • Sleeve Gastrectomy: Here, the surgeon removes 80% of the stomach using laparoscopy.

  • Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding: The surgeon inserts an inflatable silicone pouch in the top part of the stomach to limit food intake.

  • Biliopancreatic Diversion: This procedure is similar to sleeve gastrectomy, wherein the surgeon cuts the lower part of the small intestine and attaches it to the stomach.

Health Insurance for Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a complex procedure, and the average cost of the same can range from Rs 2 Lakh to 5 Lakhs. The surgery costs depend on your location and chosen procedure. The cost of gastric bypass surgery conducted via less–invasive laparoscopy tends to be higher than traditional large–incision laparotomy. Regardless, hospitalization and continuous medication are necessary for optimal care.

Today, you can buy health insurance plans to cover weight loss surgery costs resulting from health issues. However, you should be aware of the various conditions and caveats associated with filing a claim to cover the bariatric surgery costs. The standard criteria for claiming insurance for bariatric surgery are as under:

  • The patient must be at least 18 years old
  • The patient must have a body mass index (BMI) above 40.
  • BMIs ranging from 35 to 40 may be acceptable if the patient suffers from comorbidities.
  • The patient must present relevant diagnoses.
Key factors to consider:
  • You can file a claim for bariatric surgery costs after riding out the 24 to 48 months waiting period.
  • The insurance does not cover bariatric surgery undertaken for cosmetic purposes. The policy does not cover drug–induced obesity as well.
  • Some policies may not cover obesity due to pre–existing conditions.
Invest in Health Insurance

Just as you invest your money to grow your savings, so should you invest in health insurance to safeguard those savings. When you buy health insurance, the insurance company covers you for the costs of your treatment, up to a sum insured. The insurance protects you from depleting your savings and helps you focus on getting the best treatment.

Disclaimer: The above information is indicative in nature. For more details on the risk factor, terms and conditions, please refer to the Sales Brochure and Policy Wordings carefully before concluding a sale.

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