Bariatric surgery has given many individuals the feeling that they have a second chance at life. After years, even decades, of struggling with obesity, many find relief by turning to this tested and proven weight loss procedure.
If you’re significantly overweight and are questioning if this type of procedure is right for you, your first steps should be to conduct research online, and, most importantly, talk to your doctor. Your primary care physician will likely refer you to a local expert in the field. Bariatric surgery centers often specialize in just this one are of medicine, so they are well equipped to answer your questions, assess your situation, and tell you more about being approved for this procedure if it is indeed a good option for you.
Part of the evaluation process is determining the factors that may make you eligible for the procedure. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has specific guidelines that qualify an individual for insurance coverage of the procedure, though there is some gray area which allows doctors to advocate for their patients with special circumstances. The NIH states that a person with a body mass index of 35 to 40 and medical conditions related to being overweight should be considered eligible for coverage.
In some cases, if a person has a lower body mass index yet is significantly ill because of their weight, they still may be considered eligible. Hypertension and advanced diabetes are two examples of medical conditions which could shift the situation in the favor of recommended bariatric surgery. Patients with a history of mental illness or who have had cancer will likely be called on to detail those experiences as well.
Other factors may come into play when discussing your eligibility for the procedure with your surgeon. Aging, morbid obesity, mental health, and apparent ability to modify your lifestyle are a few of these factors. If denied by the insurance company, many surgeons will coach patients through the process in an effort to gain approval for coverage.
To learn more about bariatric surgery options, check out the additional resources on our site.