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Weight loss surgery cost
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Without health insurance, weight loss surgery can cost over $20,000. Find out how much the different types of surgery are likely to cost you, out of pocket expenses and what you can do to keep the weight surgery costs to a minimum.
What is weight loss surgery?
Weight loss surgery is a medical procedure that helps you lose weight and lowers the risk of medical problems associated with obesity. It's available with all gold tier health insurance policies which cost around $150 to $200 a month. In some cases, you may be able to find it included in silver plus policies for a little less.
A hospital insurance policy can cover several types of weight loss surgery including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. In most cases, you'll need to serve a 12-month waiting period before you can claim. Read our guide to getting weight loss surgery to learn more about the process.
Average costs of weight loss surgery
The cost of weight loss surgery can run into thousands of dollars depending on the clinic you use and the type of surgery you opt for. Here's a breakdown of costs if you didn't have private health insurance:
- Weight loss surgery cost. Without insurance, you can expect most weight loss surgery to cost between $15,000 and $20,000. This can differ depending on factors such as the doctor's fee, the anaesthetist fee, pathologist fees, the equipment used and paying for a hospital bed.
- Gastric bypass cost. This is likely to cost you around $12,500 and $20,000, depending on who you go with.
- Gastric sleeve cost. Gastric sleeve surgery costs are usually similar in price to other types of bariatric surgery and are likely to be around or above $20,000.
- How much does lap band surgery cost? This usually costs between $14,000 and $18,000.
Making sure you have the best health insurance that suits your needs is the best way to minimise the cost of any weight loss surgery that you may need.
Factors that impact the cost of weight loss surgery
There are a few factors that impact the cost of weight loss surgery. You need to take them all into account when working out how much it will cost you and what your out of pocket expenses might be.
- Principal surgeon's fees
- Anaesthetist fees
- Assistant fees
- Theatre costs
- Excess fee
- The type of surgery you have
- Diagnostics fees such as lab tests and medical imaging
- Booking fees
- Psychologist fees
- The length of your hospital stay
- Dietician fees associated with post-surgery exercise and diet counselling
- Additional surgeries to remove excess skin and improve loose muscles
Does insurance cover the costs of weight loss surgery?
Yes, you can get health insurance for weight loss surgery. Gold tier private health insurance covers weight loss surgery which includes gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and lap band surgery. You'll need to serve a 12-month waiting period before you're covered.
Health insurance won't eliminate out of pocket expenses, but in most cases, you're likely to pay closer to around $2,000 to $6,000. Health insurance can cover the costs of:
- The device (band)
- Surgeon, hospital and anaesthetist fees, including a private room in a private hospital
- Any face-to-face consultations with your bariatric surgeon
With private health insurance, your main out of pocket expenses will most likely be a portion of the surgeon and assistant's fee as well as the anaesthetist's fee. Speak directly with your surgeon to find out about exact costs. You can then relay that to your health insurer and they'll let you know how much they will cover. It's a good idea to compare health insurance from multiple providers to make sure you get the best deal.
If your surgery is deemed medically necessary, then Medicare may contribute a small amount towards your medical costs as well, usually around $1,200 to $1,500 depending on the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) codes (31572, 30511, 30512) that apply to your surgery.
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