Understanding the Costs of Obesity and Bariatric Surgery

How Much Does Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery Cost?

When you are considering weight loss surgery, cost can be an important factor. The more you understand about the costs associated with obesity and weight loss surgery, the better position you will be in to move forward with confidence.

In addition to lowering your risk for certain health complications, undergoing bariatric surgery can help you eliminate the unexpected costs that can come with being overweight. This is one reason more and more insurance companies are covering the costs of these kinds of procedures.

The Unexpected Costs of Being Obese

You may be surprised to learn that being significantly overweight can put an extra strain on your wallet. Some unexpected costs associated with obesity include:

  • Increased health care spending: Obese patients spend up to $4,800 more on health care per year than normal weight adults, according to the STOP Obesity Alliance. These costs go toward additional physician’s appointments, prescription medications and hospitalizations.
  • Time away from work: Obese men take as many as 5.9 more sick days per year than normal weight men. Obese women take as many as 9.4 more sick days per year, according to some health economists.
  • Lower wages: Obese women earn up to 6% less than normal weight co-workers and obese men earn 3% less, according to the Obesity Action Coalition.
  • Increased fuel costs: Studies have shown that for every additional 100 pounds placed in a car, the vehicle’s fuel efficiency goes down by up to 2%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This decrease in fuel efficiency means it takes more gas to go the same distance than a car with less weight in it.
  • Higher clothing costs: Many clothing stores charge more for plus-size clothing, especially women’s clothing, compared to similar styles in regular sizes.

No matter how overweight you are, losing even a modest amount of weight can significantly improve your health. Studies show that people who lost:

  • 5% of their body weight (with a starting body mass index of 40) saw reductions in their health care costs of over $2,000 per year, according to one study.
  • 10% of their excess weight saw improvement, and in some cases complete resolution of, chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • 15% of their body weight significantly increased their vitamin D levels, which can lower risks for certain cancers, according to a study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Insurance and Bariatric Surgery: What You Need to Know

Bariatric surgery can cost between $15,000 and $23,000. Most people who have a bariatric procedure can because bariatric surgery is a covered benefit under their health insurance plan. On your very first office visit to our bariatric program, you will meet with our insurance coordinator. Their role is to help you understand your coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs. Here are other important things to know about your insurance coverage and bariatric surgery:

  • Your surgery must be approved by your insurance plan: If bariatric surgery is covered, you will still need to meet certain requirements before you are approved for surgery. These requirements include screening tests to check your overall health and motivation to make lifestyle changes. Learn more about what to expect.
  • Not all required services are covered by insurance: Some services, such as psychological screenings, are required but may not be covered by insurance. You must pay for these services out-of-pocket.
  • You will need to pay any out-of-pocket costs before surgery: In most cases, you will need to pay for a portion of your care out-of-pocket. The amount you pay depends on your insurance benefits and must be paid in full before surgery.
  • If you are not approved for surgery, you are not out of options: Even if you do not have insurance coverage or your plan denies the procedure, we can still help you lose weight. Find out more about our non-surgical medical weight loss program.

If you have additional questions about the cost of bariatric surgery, contact your nearest Baptist Health Bariatric Surgery location.

How to Start Your Weight Loss Journey

Bariatric surgery is just one step in a life-long journey to healthy living. At Baptist Health, you have access to the latest procedures along with special services and support every step of the way.   Find out more about our program and if weight loss surgery is right for you by:

1. Completing a new patient information packet so we can start getting to know you:

2. Attending an optional in-person or online surgeon-led information session to learn more about your options.