LAP-BAND® Surgery Payment Options
LAP-BAND® surgery is indeed a major financial consideration, but don't let financial concerns keep you from consulting a weight loss surgeon.
Most doctors understand that weight loss surgery is both a beneficial and a high cost procedure, so you will find that many of them are willing to discuss and provide information on various payment options.
The three primary options for LAP-BAND® surgery are:
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Out-of-Pocket Cash Pay
- Patient Financing
Health Insurance Coverage
LAP-BAND® surgery is covered by many health insurance companies, although specific coverage will vary between insurance companies, health plans, and even between states.
Even among insurance companies that provide insurance coverage for LAP-BAND® surgery, surgery benefits will usually not be considered unless other weight loss methods have been attempted, weight loss surgery is considered a medical necessity, and the patient meets the National Institute of Health (NIH) requirements for bariatric surgery.
Some insurance companies, however, may specifically exclude any type of obesity surgery.
If you do not have health insurance, your health insurance company does not cover weight loss surgery, you do not meet their criteria for medical necessity, or you do not wish to proceed with insurance coverage for your procedure, there are other payment options available to you.
Many people who have undergone LAP-BAND® Surgery have not been covered by insurance but have worked out payment thru either a lump sum out-of-pocket cash payment or patient financing.
You will have to decide whether you are a cash pay patient or insurance patient early in the process to that the appropriate administrative steps can be completed correctly.
Whatever the method of reimbursement, payment is expected to be worked out prior to surgery. The payment process will coincide with the surgery approval process and when both are resolved the surgery can be scheduled.
Cash Pay LAP-BAND® Patients
Surgeon's and hospitals offer a different pricing structure for patients that are designated as a cash pay patient. Special packages for fees and services are put together for patients that will be paying up front with cash rather than billing an insurance provider. Some of the packages are a lump-sum amount for all expected expenses, but some may bill each portion separately. The expenses to consider are all pre-op tests and evaluations, surgeon, surgical assistants, hospital or surgery center, anesthesiologist, follow-up support, fills and band adjustments.
When consulting a weight loss surgeon, ask them about their cash-pay option. Before you proceed as a cash pay patient, however, be certain that you will not be switching to insurance coverage. It is not merely a matter of changing the payment method, but alters the complete payment structure and disrupts the administrative process.
Financing and Healthcare Lenders
Patient financing is another payment option available for LAP-BAND® surgery. Financing allows you to pay for the surgery over time if you do not have insurance coverage or cash to pay up-front.
Many bariatric surgeons have working relationships with healthcare finance companies and can provide you with information on financing programs and payment plans. The referrals will usually be for particular lenders that offer special financing packages for major health care expenditures with low interest and low monthly payments.
Your doctor may also participate in the patient finance program specifically for patients of the LAP-BAND® System that links patients with CareCredit®, a leading patient financing program.
If you want to consider financing for LAP-BAND® surgery, you should ask your doctors office if they can provide you with any patient financing information or if they are enrolled in the LAP-BAND® System Patient Financing Program.
LAP-BAND® Surgery is Tax Deductible
While it does not directly help with payment for the surgery, the cost of your LAP-BAND® surgery may be deductible on your tax return. You may want to check out the IRS guidelines on tax deductions for medical care. You may be able to reduce your taxes by itemizing your expenses for your LAP-BAND® Surgery and related medical fees.