How Much Does Gastric Sleeve Cost With or Without Insurance?

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Obesity can cost you as much as $5,000 a year. With the rising costs of health care, people often wonder if weight loss surgery will be covered by insurance.

Gastric sleeve surgery is a preferred option for overweight patients due to its minimal recovery time and great weight loss results.

Cost can be a barrier in deciding who can get gastric sleeve surgery. There are contributing factors where the price patients pay can be lesser or greater, but there are ways to help reduce the cost.

What Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery

A picture that shows how gastric sleeve surgery is performed

Gastric sleeve surgery is a useful weight loss surgery that helps patients lose weight long-term by cutting out a large part of their stomach to limit food intake. Out of all the different types of weight loss surgery done in the US in 2018, gastric sleeve surgery made up over 60% of weight loss surgeries done.

Gastric Sleeve Costs Without Insurance

Gastric sleeve costs without insurance in the US can start around $10,000 and can go above $25,000. In Canada, gastric sleeve cost can range from $15,000 to $20,000 (Canadian).

  • The average gastric sleeve cost in the US is $15,400.
  • Gastric sleeve costs vary by country.
  • Across the border in Mexico, gastric sleeve cost is on average between $3,800 to $5,500.

Gastric Sleeve Costs With Insurance

Gastric sleeve costs with insurance can be difficult to reduce, leaving patients with similar out-of-pocket costs as to those without insurance. In the US, few insurance plans cover/partially cover the cost.

  • People should first contact their insurance company to ask about their individual plan’s coverage.
  • Medical tourism companies are a great solution for affordable surgery options.

A study published in Obesity Surgery in 2020 found 23 states that were enrolled in the Affordable care act had some forms of weight loss surgery covered under its benefits program. The essential health benefits covered forms of obesity screening/counseling, but only individual states decide on surgery eligibility. The study found:

  • About 49% of Americans who live in the 23 states under the Affordable care act have insurance through their employer, but it does not cover gastric sleeve surgery.
  • Fewer than 1% of overweight patients who qualify for gastric sleeve have surgery done due to costs.

Contributing Cost Factors

Contributing cost factors are individual costs that add up to form the total gastric sleeve cost.

Medical Tourism Cost

A medical tourism company can fully arrange for you the best weight loss surgery package abroad for a much more affordable rate.

Procedure Costs

How simple or difficult surgery can be for a patient depending on their current health situation and risk level of complications can impact costs.

Hospital Pricing

The price hospitals charge for their services and equipment used for surgery can vary. For example, hospitals, depending on their location may charge a different fee for the use of anesthesia. This includes lab testing and more.

Surgeon’s Cost

Reputable, Board-certified weight loss surgeons can charge a high fee.

Factors to reduce the cost should be known before a patient decides on where they would like to have their surgery. Factors that can reduce the cost include:

  • Contacting your insurance company to see if they agree on partially covering gastric sleeve surgery, or completely covering it.
  • Having a Medical Tourism company assist you with providing a more affordable, personalized surgery travel package (to Mexico).
  • Contacting your bank to find a flexible loan with a competitive interest rate to meet your needs.
  • Try to apply for Medicaid.
  • Set up a payment plan with your surgeon.

Pink Piggy Bank On Top Of A Pile Of One Dollar Bills

Discover how and if surgery can be affordable for you. Steps can be taken to research the expected costs when deciding where you would like to have gastric sleeve surgery done. Costs can vary by state and even more by country.

If you feel this surgery may be the best solution for your weight loss needs, speak with your physician to learn more about how it might benefit you, discover the qualifying criteria, and then decide where you may want to go for surgery.