Bariatric surgery is generally misunderstood by people who think it’s only sought by people who don’t want to go to the trouble of exercising and dieting. In reality, bariatric surgery is more typically for people who have tried consistently to lose weight by conventional methods without being able to do so. Obesity can lead to several harmful conditions, which makes bariatric weight loss surgery a necessary treatment in most cases.

Unfortunately, most insurance companies don’t consider bariatric surgery a medical necessity, but rather an optional surgery for cosmetic purposes. You should consult with your insurance company about whether your policy covers bariatric surgery and whether it covers all of it or just a part of the cost. You should also consult how the financial aspects are handled when having the surgery abroad. (It’s interesting to note that Medicare and Medicaid do cover bariatric surgery.)

In addition, you should ask your insurance provider some basic questions:

  • Is your specific type of surgery covered by insurance?
  • What requirements are there (aside from the ones your doctor requires) to qualify for coverage?
  • Is it necessary to participate in a weight-loss program before approval?
  • Does your condition qualify as a pre-condition?
  • What is your annual deductible?
  • When is your insurance renewed?

[Note that the process for approval can take up to three months. Therefore, you should start it early if you want to have the surgery before your insurance deductible renews.

Some of the common requirements for insurance coverage for bariatric surgery are:

  • A body mass index of 40 or greater.
  • A body mass index of 35 or greater if you have a condition related to obesity, such as diabetes.
  • Medical diagnosis of obesity.
  • Proof that you haven’t been able to lose weight in conventional ways, such as proof that you have followed a weight loss program.
  • A psychological evaluation.

Unfortunately, in many cases, patients don’t have medical insurance, or their insurance doesn’t cover bariatric surgery, their application for bariatric surgery is rejected, or the process might take too long (in some cases, such as following a weight-loss program, may take up to 12 months). On the other hand, those patients can get gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, gastric band, and other weight loss surgeries coming to Costa Rica and saving 50 to 70% over prices in the USA and Canada. Even if you have insurance, you may find that Costa Rica offers more affordable options.

If you are interested in getting bariatric surgery in Costa Rica, Please fill out the “Help me Find a Doctor!” form and a participating medical specialist will reply to discuss your case.