When considering weight loss surgery, one of the major concerns that come to mind is the cost of the procedure. Unfortunately, in most cases, weight loss surgery is not a cheap endeavor, which raises the question: what insurance companies cover weight loss surgery?

The truth is that insurance coverage for weight loss surgery varies widely depending on the provider and policy. Some insurance companies provide comprehensive coverage for weight loss surgery, while others may only cover part of the procedure or may have strict requirements in place before covering the surgery. Therefore, it is critical to comprehend the specifics of one’s insurance policy before assuming coverage for weight loss surgery.

While many insurance companies now provide coverage for weight loss surgery, the exact details of such coverage can differ significantly. Therefore, those considering the surgery should speak with their insurance companies as soon as possible regarding their coverage policies. Knowing what insurance companies cover weight loss surgery can ultimately assist patients in making an informed decision about their options.

Insurance Companies Cover Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery is a potentially life-changing, but expensive procedure. Therefore, many patients want to know if their insurance plan will cover all or part of the cost. The good news is that more and more insurance companies are starting to cover weight loss surgery, but the criteria and requirements vary. Here is what you need to know about insurance coverage for weight loss surgery:

  • Types of insurance plans: Insurance coverage for weight loss surgery varies based on the type of insurance plan that you have. There are three major types of insurance plans: HMO, PPO, and Medicare. Each plan type has its own guidelines and coverage options.
  • Criteria for coverage: Most insurance companies have specific criteria that patients must meet to qualify for weight loss surgery coverage. The criteria typically include a minimum BMI (Body Mass Index) threshold, documented failed attempts at weight loss through other methods, and a medical necessity for the surgery.
  • Pre-authorization requirements: Most insurance plans require pre-authorization for weight loss surgery. This means that your surgeon must submit a request to your insurance company and receive approval before scheduling your surgery. Failure to obtain pre-authorization may result in your insurance denying coverage for the surgery.
  • Out-of-pocket costs: Even if your insurance plan covers weight loss surgery, there may still be out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays, coinsurance, and deductibles. It is important to check with your insurance company to determine your specific plan benefits and coverage limits.
  • In-network vs. out-of-network providers: Insurance coverage for weight loss surgery may vary depending on whether you choose an in-network or out-of-network provider. In-network providers typically have lower out-of-pocket costs than out-of-network providers. However, if your insurance company does not have any in-network providers for weight loss surgery, they may still cover the cost of an out-of-network provider.

In conclusion, insurance coverage for weight loss surgery varies depending on your insurance plan, specific criteria, pre-authorization requirements, out-of-pocket costs, and in-network vs. out-of-network providers. Therefore, checking with your insurance company regarding your specific plan benefits and coverage options is important.

Factors that Affect Insurance Coverage for Weight Loss Surgery

Getting insurance coverage for weight loss surgery can be a complicated process. Many factors can affect whether an insurance company will cover the procedure. Here are some of the most important factors that you should consider:

  1. Type of Surgery: Insurance providers may cover some weight loss surgeries but not others. Insurance plans more likely cover common procedures like gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.
  2. Medical Necessity: With insurance coverage for weight loss surgery, it is important to demonstrate medical necessity. This usually means having a high body mass index (BMI) and other health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea.
  3. Coverage Offered by Plan: Insurance plans vary on what they will cover. Some may have exclusions for weight loss surgery while others might cover all costs including the surgeon’s fee, hospital stay, and post-surgery care. It’s important to read the fine print of your policy or ask for clarification from your insurance provider to understand what your plan covers.
  4. Documentation: Insurance providers may require documentation from a healthcare provider to prove medical necessity for the surgery. This may include lab results, imaging, and other medical records.
  5. Out-of-Pocket Costs: Even if an insurance plan covers weight loss surgery, patients may still have to pay out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance. It’s important to understand these costs before the procedure to avoid surprises.
  6. Pre-authorization: Obtaining pre-authorization from your insurer before the surgery is recommended. This confirms that the procedure is medically necessary and that you will be covered.

Overall, being well informed about what insurance companies cover weight loss surgery is important. Knowing the factors that affect insurance coverage can help you make an informed decision about the procedure.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery Covered By Insurance

If you are considering weight loss surgery, knowing what your insurance will cover is important. Generally, insurance covers weight loss surgery only for individuals considered morbidly obese and have tried other weight loss methods like diet and exercise without success. Insurance companies may also require a qualified and experienced bariatric surgeon to perform the surgery.

Here are some of the most common types of weight loss surgery covered by insurance:

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure that divides the stomach into two parts and rearranges the small intestine to reduce the amount of food you can eat and the number of calories your body absorbs. This surgery is effective in helping patients lose a significant amount of weight and improving obesity-related health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, or LAP-BAND surgery, involves placing an adjustable band around the top portion of the stomach to create a small pouch. This limits the amount of food the stomach can hold and helps patients feel full faster. This procedure is less invasive than gastric bypass surgery and is often covered by insurance.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy, or vertical gastrectomy, involves removing a portion of the stomach to create a small tube or sleeve. This reduces the amount of food the stomach can hold and reduces hunger by decreasing the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin. This procedure is becoming more common and may be covered by insurance for certain patients.

It’s important to note that each insurance plan is different, so it’s important to check with your insurance provider to see what type of weight loss surgery they cover and what requirements you must meet to be eligible for coverage.


To summarize, weight loss surgery can be a life-changing procedure for many individuals struggling with obesity. Fortunately, many insurance companies provide coverage for these surgeries under certain circumstances. However, the specific requirements for coverage can vary widely depending on the insurance provider and the policy itself.

Before undergoing weight loss surgery, it’s essential to research the coverage options available through your insurance company and understand the criteria you need to meet to qualify. Some of the key factors to consider when evaluating insurance coverage for weight loss surgery include:

  • The type of insurance plan you have
  • Whether weight loss surgery is considered to be medically necessary
  • The specific surgical procedures that are covered
  • The qualifications you need to meet, such as a minimum BMI or proof of previous weight loss attempts

Ultimately, the best way to determine what insurance companies cover weight loss surgery is to speak directly with your insurer and get detailed information about your specific plan. By understanding your coverage options, you can decide whether weight loss surgery is the right choice for you.