Health insurance for weight loss surgery
Health insurance for weight loss surgery is available with all gold-tier hospital policies. It usually costs around $150-$190 a month with a 12-month waiting period, so it's worth getting sooner rather than later.
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Cheap health insurance for weight loss surgery
*Quotes are based on a single individual with less than $90,000 income, $500 excess and living in Sydney.
Health insurance that covers weight loss surgery
Here are a few policies from Finder partners that cover weight loss surgery. To see more about great health policies, see our page on Australia's best health insurance products.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
*Quotes are based on a single individual aged 35, living in NSW, earning up to $90k and with $750 excess.
Compare more health insurance options for weight loss surgery
What weight loss surgeries are available?
If the physician recommends weight loss surgery, it will usually be for one of the following below varieties. To learn more, see our guide to getting weight loss surgery.
Lap band (also called gastric banding)
This is where the surgeon wraps a silicone band around the top portion of your stomach, thereby reducing the amount you can fit in your stomach.
This is where the surgeon reduces the size of your stomach by permanently removing a section of it. Like the lap band, this causes you to feel full quicker and eat less.
This is where the surgeon divides your stomach into 2 sections, then connects your small intestine to the smaller of the new stomach sections. This helps you to eat less, absorb fewer calories and react negatively to sugar.
The surgeon removes a section of the stomach (as they would with a sleeve gastrectomy) and then relocates the bottom of the stomach further down the small intestine. Like the gastric bypass, this procedure causes you to eat less and absorb fewer calories.
In this procedure, the surgeon puts a small tube into your body and sucks the fat out with a vacuum. Liposuction doesn't affect your appetite.
How much does weight loss surgery cost without insurance?
Weight loss surgery costs without insurance differ depending on how much the surgeon, anaesthetist and assistant charges, pathology costs and the type of procedure you undergo. Here's an overview of surgery costs in Australia based on a number of health providers we looked at.
|Lap band||$10,000 - 20,000|
|Sleeve gastrectomy||$12,180 - $20,000|
|Gastric bypass||$16,000 - $18,000|
|Duodenal switch||$29,000 - $55,000 (average cost around $33,000)|
Costs sourced from a number of health providers: Advanced Surgicare, Central Coast Surgery, Medibank, New Body Specialists and Bariatric Surgery Source.
To help lower the costs, make sure you get the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) number for the type of surgery you require. Don't expect it to significantly lower the costs, though. For example, Item 31575 (sleeve gastrectomy) pays a $663 benefit. Some useful item numbers for weight loss surgery are outlined below:
- Sleeve gastrectomy: Item 31575
- Gastric banding: Item 31569
- Gastric bypass: Item 31572
- Duodenal switch: Item 31581
- Reversal of Gastric Banding/Lap-Band (removal or replacement of gastric band): Item 31584
Can anyone get weight loss surgery?
No, it's not always possible for anyone to get weight loss surgery. This is because it's not always the best course of action for everyone. It also depends on whether you receive treatment through the public system or privately.
To be eligible for treatment in the public system (Medicare), you need to have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35, demonstrate that you've failed using other approaches and you'll have to undergo a psychological evaluation. You'll also have to find a public hospital that will do this sort of treatment, of which there are only a few in Australia.
Private health insurers will require you to have a face-to-face consultation with a physician to determine if the surgery is necessary and some insurers require you to have a BMI above a specific number. However, these requirements are less restrictive than Medicare and you will have more choice of hospitals.
Cover for weight loss surgery vs weight management
Cover for weight loss surgery
You'll only find health insurance for weight loss surgery with a gold-tier hospital policy. If you're not already on one, you'll want to get on one soon because there will be a waiting period, usually around 12 months.
Cover for weight management
Many extras policies cover weight management programs like fitness classes, money off gym memberships and nutritional consulting programs such as WW (previously Weight Watchers) and Jenny Craig. This can give you a chance to learn new wellness habits pre-surgery or, in some cases, avoid having surgery altogether. Waiting periods are a lot shorter – usually around 2 months.
Frequently asked questions about weight loss surgery
Stat source: https://www.aihw.gov.au; Icons made by Freepik, Good Ware, DinosoftLabs from www.flaticon.com
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