Regrettably, bariatric surgery isn’t covered by all health insurance plans, despite its well-proven health benefits in treating what we now recognize as environment health problems of diabetes and obesity. And some plans that do cover bariatric surgery create difficult hurdles for people in ways not seen with other treatments. It’s for that reason that roughly five percent of our patients end up paying cash instead. For this group, the advantages of the surgery and paying out of pocket are appealing enough to forgo the insurance route. If you’re wondering whether you should pay cash for bariatric surgery, here’s a look at the pros and cons.
Benefits of Paying Cash for Bariatric Surgery
Choosing to pay cash gives you options. Instead of navigating insurance, finding in-network carriers, abiding by mandatory waiting periods, or dealing with maddening insurance company run-around, you get to make the decisions. That means you can choose the surgeon you want, based on your own research. You aren’t limited to specific surgeons or facilities. The freedom to choose the right surgeon is an enormous benefit. Finding a surgeon you trust, someone who will take the time to understand you as an individual, listen to your concerns, and work with you to find a solution, should be the first step in any surgery.
Timing is another benefit. Once you’ve settled on the right surgeon and you’ve agreed on the right procedure, you can have surgery as it suits your schedule and your surgeon’s availability. And perhaps most appealing is the fact that you run no risk of surprises or coverage issues that could torpedo your surgery.
Drawbacks of Paying Cash for Bariatric Surgery
Perhaps the biggest challenge of paying cash is cost. While they have come down, they’re still significant. Like any surgery, there can be complications with a bariatric procedure that could be costly to resolve. Serious complications are rare with experienced surgeons, but can range from obstructions or leaks to bleeding, infections, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or dehydration. There is a chance that insurance may not cover the complications that arise from any procedure if you paid cash – no matter how medically necessary and helpful it is – so it’s very important that you discuss this with your surgeon. Be specific — ask what might happen if a follow-up operation becomes necessary. Most experienced surgeons and centers already have that eventuality covered in the cost of the procedure.
There are many questions prospective patients have when considering bariatric surgery, and if you’re considering paying cash, you’ll have even more. Take the time to research experienced surgeons and to get meaningful answers to your questions. Regardless of how you choose to pay, you deserve to feel comfortable with your decision to pursue bariatric surgery.
Like other great centers around the country, our team at Sasse Surgical has worked hard to reduce the costs, and eliminate any hidden financial exposure, while relentlessly focusing on safety and great results. Always keep in mind that the best safety record is worth all the money in the world; put another way, there is no amount of money that is worth risking your safety with a bargain surgery out of the country. Contact the Sasse Surgical team here in Reno, and let’s schedule a consultation so you have all of the information you need to start planning.