Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) October 23, 2012
When patients make decisions about weight loss surgery, considering their particular health insurance benefits is an important factor. Potential LAP-BAND candidates often wonder if the cost of their surgery is covered by their insurance provider or have to call their carrier to verify their particular benefits. If a patient’s primary insurance provider doesn’t cover a particular weight loss surgery procedure yet has already received physician approval, Dr. Shahram Salimitari, a LAP-BAND surgeon in Los Angeles, recommends alternatives options.
The process of insurance approval for weight loss surgery can be lengthy. All insurance carriers have criteria about what qualifies a patient for weight loss surgery, and many require nutrition counseling and extensive psychological testing prior to approval. This testing is to ensure patients have realistic goals, expectations, and no pathological body image issues. If the insurance provider determines that a patient is unlikely to comply with their physician’s post-operative diet and exercise plan, they may be less likely to approve surgery.
The cost of LAP-BAND with insurance varies by healthcare provider, depending on the weight loss benefits and what the company deems medically necessary. At LAP-BAND VIP, surgery is only recommended when physicians deem it a medical necessity, particularly for obese patients who have tried conventional weight loss methods without long-term success. The good news is that many insurance companies cover most, if not all, of the cost of weight loss surgery. The real cost of LAP-BAND surgery includes the cost of the surgeon, the hospital facility fee, anesthesia fees, pre-operative assessments, LAP-BAND fills and adjustments, post-surgery counseling, and surgeon access.
If patients have an insurance plan which does not cover their desired surgical procedure, it is advisable to seek out another carrier which provides more comprehensive benefits. Also, patients may consider speaking directly to their employers about obtaining some form of coverage. To become more knowledgeable about insurance policies, patients are encouraged to learn what each insurance provider deems medically necessary criteria for weight loss procedures.
“Bariatric surgery is being covered more often due to the medical benefits of significant weight loss for obese patients,” Dr. Salimitari said. “Although Medicare does not currently cover gastric sleeve surgery, a procedure where 85 percent of the stomach is removed, it is a valuable tool in weight loss which can stave off obesity-related health conditions.”
Overweight and obesity in the U.S. is at a record level, with one in three Americans categorized as 20 percent or more over their ideal body weight, which is considered obese. New research has shown that bariatric surgery is much more effective in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. compared to treatments such as diet and medication.
As more insurance companies offer coverage for procedures such as sleeve gastrectomy, Dr. Salimitari has seen an improvement in the physical and mental health of his patients. Apart from remission of physical maladies which often go hand in hand with obesity, clinical depression is also common due to low self-esteem, which can be alleviated through weight loss. Many notice immediate benefits which go beyond a smaller waistline, such as no longer needing medications they had been taking to treat conditions like asthma or sleep apnea. Dr. Salimitari anticipates that further insurance providers will offer coverage as companies continue to expand their benefits.
Dr. Shahram Salimitari obtained a medical degree from the Chicago Medical School and undertook his General Surgery residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago. He continued his training with a fellowship in minimally-invasive surgery at the University of South Florida. He specializes in weight loss surgery with a focus in gastric banding procedures.
About LAP-BAND VIP
LAP-BAND VIP has a dedicated surgical and medical staff with extensive training and expertise perfected through years of practice. Our staff provides unparalleled, personalized service for all individuals in their weight loss journey. To learn more about LAP-BAND VIP and to schedule your free consultation, visit http://www.lapbandvip.com or call (800) 561-9000.