Cost of Gastric Bypass Surgery: Insurance, Self-Pay, Financing

The struggle against extra weight is one that far too many of us are losing. Obesity can take away joy, confidence, opportunity, and even life. While careful eating and diligent exercise can help, in many instances the amount that you stand to lose is far too great or you need to lose the weight faster than the diet and exercise method allows. A gastric bypass surgery will allow you to lose more, faster, and you should weigh the cost of the surgery depending on whether you pay your out-of-pockets costs with cash or via financing measures.

How to Minimize Your Out-of-Pocket Costs

Gastric bypass surgery can cost more than $20,000, but when your life is on the line, the results are worth every dollar. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce the amount that you’ll wind up paying out-of-pocket.

Check with your health insurance. You might very well discover that bariatric procedures are covered, and this clause generally covers all sorts of weight-loss procedures, especially gastric bypass surgery. Make sure that you double check for copayment amounts, deductible levels, and maximum out-of-pockets. While some insurance companies won’t cover your gastric bypass surgery, it will likely cover related labs, exams, and other expenses, and you should establish what will and won’t be covered before your initial consultation.

Another element to check regarding insurance coverage is to verify coverage of both your chosen surgeon and the facility where that doctor operates. You will be drastically stressed if you discover that one or the other isn’t covered and the other is. While you might imagine this discrepancy to be ridiculous and a non-occurrence, it is absolutely a realistic concern that can and has happened. 

Insurance isn’t the only way to minimize out-of-pocket costs. Location and payment type also can affect price. Some practitioners offer discounts to those patients without health insurance, and sometimes these discounts are significant. 

The location where you have the procedure done can also affect the price. The cheapest location is actually Mexico. Those who choose to travel out of country for weight-loss surgery should research and make sure that the doctor and hospital chosen are safe, experienced, and reputable. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cash Payment

The primary advantage to paying cash is that you avoid paying interest and fees related to financing. You’ll actually pay less in the long run. The primary disadvantage is that you may have to wait longer to have your procedure, postponing and limiting your weight loss.

Paying cash for your out-of-pocket expenses resulting from gastric bypass surgery is the best option if you happen to have a few thousand dollars lying around that you don’t have allocated to another expense or plan. If you’re like most of us, though, and have every dollar assigned before its even earned, it might take time to pay in cash. 

To pay in cash, you could choose to invest your time in saving money over a period of time to fund your surgery. This option will delay your surgery, but when you hate the thought of paying interest or simply can’t secure financing, it is the best option.

The payment amount that you suppose you could finance can be set aside regularly, as if you’re paying a bill. Combined with other fundraising efforts, you’ll be headed to surgery and a return to health in a short period of time. This method will take longer but will cost much less in the end. You’ll have to decide which is more important, saving the extra money or getting the weight loss adventure started.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Financing 

The alternative to paying cash is financing. Borrowing the funds that you need and promising to repay with interest is a common way for most people to make large purchases that they otherwise couldn’t afford. There’s no one-size-fits all solution for this situation, but there are plenty of good options.

The first choice should be to make payment arrangements with the facility itself. Before ever going in for the consultation, make a call and see if financing is possible. 

The APR, or Annual Percentage Rate, is the most important component of any financing agreement because it represents the interest rate that will be paid back yearly. The higher the number, the more interest you’ll have to pay. Pay attention to this figure before signing any loan agreement.

If the clinic or hospital doesn’t offer financing options, you might need to seek credit elsewhere. You could take out a Care Credit account, which is personal financing especially designed for medical expenses. Other options include other unsecured credit including credit cards and personal loans. Some institutions to consider include Earnest, LendingClub, LendingPoint, and UpStart. The right loan for you will depend on your credit score, your income, and your budget. Do not agree to a monthly payment that you know you can’t afford.

Secured financing is also an option. You might take out a loan against a life insurance policy, real estate holding, retirement account, or other significant asset. Be aware that these secured loans use your property as collateral and put these assets at risk of loss if you default on repayment. Because they’re secured with collateral, these loans will usually have lower interest rates and better repayment terms, especially if you have a higher credit rating.

Most of us, once we’ve decided that gastric bypass surgery is the right path to take, will abhor having to postpone the journey. While paying cash vs financing will cost less, the resulting delay might make you choose financing as the better option. Ultimately, this decision is an individual one and will depend on whether you have disposable savings, good credit, and even how drastic the health situation might be. No matter your choice, remember to embrace the opportunity, follow the nutritional and exercise guidelines, and continue on your journey to health. You deserve to enjoy the remainder of your life without the burden of unwanted and unwelcome extra pounds.