Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) provides supplementary coverage for weight loss surgeries, especially necessary procedures like lap bands and gastric sleeve surgery. Insurance providers realize the effect of obesity on health, and support for those engaged in interventions is prioritized.
BCBS may cover weight loss surgery based on specific circumstances, such as health conditions and medical necessity.
Bariatric surgery requirements for 2023 include medical necessity assessments, documentation of failed weight loss attempts, and specialist evaluations.
Coverage for bariatric surgery depends on your specific BCBS plan, with considerations for Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (LSG), Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (LRYGB), and Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (LAGB).
BCBS may cover weight loss programs, but eligible programs vary. Commonly covered options include medically supervised diets, nutritional counseling, and commercial programs.
Clear guidance on insurance coverage for gastric sleeve or lap band surgery lets you make the right choices on your journey to better health. This article explains what you should know about weight loss surgery coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Will Blue Cross Blue Shield cover weight loss surgery?
Blue Cross Blue Shield may cover weight loss surgery under certain circumstances. Coverage eligibility often depends on a person’s health, the severity of obesity, and whether the surgery is medically necessary.
The insurance provider will require comprehensive documentation, including medical history, previous weight loss attempts, and specialist evaluations.
It is essential to verify the details of your specific plan because the coverage criteria can sometimes differ among various Blue Cross Blue Shield plans.
Meeting the coverage criteria doesn't guarantee approval, and some cases may be subject to review. It would be best if you openly communicated with your insurance company to understand the coverage for weight loss surgery better.
Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C, with variations based on plan types
Offers dental, vision, hearing, and transportation coverage
Rated 4.17 out of 5 by CMS
What weight loss surgeries are covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield?
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) may help pay for some weight loss surgeries because they are essential for fixing obesity-related health issues. Among the weight loss surgeries that may be covered are:
1. Bariatric surgery
Bariatric surgery covers various procedures aimed at promoting weight loss. Adjustable gastric banding, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass are frequently observed varieties.
BCBS occasionally evaluates the medical needs of these surgeries individually, taking into account past weight loss attempts, obesity-related medical disorders, and body mass index (BMI).
2. Gastric sleeve
Gastric sleeve surgery, or sleeve gastrectomy, involves the removal of a portion of the stomach to create a smaller, banana-shaped stomach pouch. This restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold and helps to lose weight.
BCBS may cover gastric sleeve surgery if it is deemed medically necessary based on individual health circumstances.
3. Lap band
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, or lap band surgery, involves placing an elastic band around the upper part of the stomach to create a smaller pouch.
This band restricts food intake and improves the efficiency of weight loss. BCBS may cover lap band surgery in cases where it may be seen as a medical necessity for managing obesity and related health diseases.
You should also note that coverage policies can differ between different plans and regions.
Blue Cross Blue Shield bariatric surgery requirements for 2024
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has made new rules in 2024 to help those with obesity health problems. If you are considering weight loss surgery, here are some essential things you need to know:
- Medical necessity assessment. Blue Cross Blue Shield looks at each person's situation to determine if weight loss surgery is needed. They check past sicknesses, obesity-related health issues, and body mass index (BMI).
- Documentation of failed weight loss attempts. Blue Cross Blue Shield may require documentation showing other weight loss efforts failed. This could be proof of diet and exercise programs that were unsuccessful.
- Specialist evaluation. Bariatric surgeons will look closely at a patient's health to determine if surgery will be safe and effective.
- Psychological evaluation. A psychological evaluation may be completed to ensure the patient is prepared to adapt to lifestyle changes.
- Insurance preauthorization. Your surgeon will submit the required documentation to BCBS for payment approval. This will determine how much of the surgery will be covered by insurance.
Which BCBS plan covers bariatric surgery?
To determine if your health insurance plan covers all or part of bariatric surgery, you can contact your insurance agent or BSBC directly. They can explain your coverage in detail. You will need to know your out-of-pocket costs, if any, and the specifics of what is and isn't covered, for example. Your insurance may pay for the surgery and several hospital stay days, and it's essential to know what is covered if complications arise and require a more extended stay.
Your insurer can explain the pre-approval process, the documentation required, and any associated cost that might not be covered.
Bariatric surgery costs through Blue Cross Blue Shield
The cost of the Blue Cross Blue Shield bariatric surgery can differ for everyone, depending on location, insurance carrier, and other factors. The entire surgery cost is between $15,000 and $25,000 in the United States. Even with insurance, you will likely have a copay. Your agent or a BCBS representative can explain what your plan will cover before, during, and after surgery.
How long does it take Blue Cross Blue Shield to approve bariatric surgery?
The approval time for bariatric surgery with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) can vary. Submitting the proper documentation, like medical records, usually takes a few weeks to a month.
Your physician or surgeon will typically submit the paperwork and receive the approval and coverage amount. If the claim is denied, you will be provided with an explanation. Sometimes, the reason is that your healthcare provider didn't submit all the paperwork needed.
Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover weight loss programs?
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) may offer coverage for certain weight loss programs, but the specific programs covered can vary based on your individual plan and location. BCBS often recognizes the importance of addressing obesity and promoting healthy lifestyle changes.
Weight loss programs covered by BCBS
- Medically supervised diets. BCBS may cover programs managed by healthcare professionals involving specialized diets and regular monitoring.
- Nutritional counseling. Coverage for sessions with registered dietitians or nutritionists to provide personalized guidance on healthy eating habits.
- Jenny Craig. BCBS might help members join a special program that provides prepackaged meals with special support and counseling, such as Jenny Craig. It's best to check with a specific plan to review these benefits in greater detail.
- Weight Watchers (WW). BCBS might offer coverage with a program such as Weight Watchers (WW), too. Such a program helps you eat good food, exercise, and garner the support of friends to enhance your health and happiness. Check with your plan for specific details.
Knowing the coverage criteria, expenses, and the approval process helps you decide what's best for you on your weight loss journey.
Is weight loss covered under insurance?
Weight loss is sometimes covered under insurance, depending on your policy. Most insurance plans, including some offered by BCBS, cover medically necessary weight loss procedures, depending on plan terms and conditions.
What's the difference between medical weight loss and surgical weight loss?
Medical weight loss highlights non-surgical interventions, mainly diets and medications, while surgical weight loss highlights procedures like gastric bypass. The significant difference is that medical weight loss doesn't require surgery, but surgical weight loss does.
What are the exclusion criteria for bariatric surgery?
Exclusion criteria for bariatric surgery depend on insufficient BMI, absence of obesity-related health issues, and specific medical contraindications. Everyone faces a different situation, so checking with the doctors and your insurance is the best way to know what's right for you.
Why doesn't my insurance cover weight loss medication?
Due to different guidelines and priorities, insurance policies may exclude weight loss medication coverage. Some insurers prioritize surgical interventions or lifestyle modifications. Check your insurance policy documents and contact your insurance provider for clarity on coverage details and potential alternatives.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield. Program Selection Criteria: Bariatric Surgery.
- National Institutes of Health. Definition & Facts of Weight-loss Surgery - NIDDK.