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What If My Insurance Won't Cover Weight Loss Surgery?
Posted by skymedicus STAFF on 7/21/2017 3:53 PM | Last Modified: August 2, 2017
If your health insurance doesn't cover weight loss surgery, you still have options.
Each year across the country, tens of thousands of people encounter a shocking scenario: their insurance company won’t cover their weight loss surgery. Typically, it's because they aren’t deemed to have a life-threatening illness, or they don’t (yet) have diabetes or high blood pressure.
When confronted with this appalling and unethical position that your insurance company is taking, please understand 2 very important things: first, you aren’t alone; and second, you have options.
Below, we highlight 4 possibilities that you can start exploring immediately:
What to Do if Your Insurance Doesn't Cover Bariatric Surgery:
1. Self-Financing Weight Loss Surgery
Speak with your surgeon and see if she or he will allow you to self-finance your weight loss surgery. For example, you may be able to pay for your surgery in a series of installments at little or no interest. If you pursue this option, then ensure that you factor in ALL of the costs of the surgery and not just the procedure itself. Otherwise you may be in for an unexpectedly large bill down the road.
2. Secured Medical Loans
Some banks and credit unions offer medical loans to select clients and members. The availability and criteria differ from institution to institution, and sometimes from branch to branch as well. Bear in mind that ever since the “Great Recession” erupted in 2008, banks and credit unions are more reluctant than ever to approve personal loans (or even business loans for that matter). As such, the chances of this being a viable option are, unfortunately, fairly low.
Furthermore, if your medical loan application is approved, you will need to secure the loan with collateral – which means that if you default, the bank or credit union will have the right to seize your assets (e.g. your car, home, etc.) and liquidate them to recover the debt.
3. Retirement Savings
You may be able to tap into your retirement savings (401(k), 403(b), IRA, etc.) to pay for your weight loss surgery. However, the IRS will impose a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty, plus the amount will be added to your yearly income which means that you’ll have to pay income tax. Since the combined penalty plus income tax costs can reach into the thousands, we frankly don’t recommend this option. However, we nevertheless wanted to present it here for your consideration.
4. Get Weight Loss Surgery Abroad
Each year, an estimated 20,000 U.S. residents get their weight loss surgery abroad and save tens of thousands of dollars. For example, weight loss surgery in Mexico can cost as little as $5000, which includes everything (hospital fee, surgeon fee, anesthesia fee, etc.). What’s more, these surgeries take place in accredited hospitals and handled by licensed and renowned surgeons – many of whom earned their medical degree in the U.S., and have in-depth experience serving patients from the U.S.
To learn more about this option, we invite you to sign-up with SkyMedicus today.
Topics: Weight Loss Surgery