Weight Loss Procedures Covered By Insurance
Unhealthy dietary habits, high-calorific foods, and sedentary habits have combined to make obesity into a health problem for people of all age groups and all socioeconomic strata. If left untreated, obesity generally leads to health problems ranging from high blood pressure to diabetes, and more. People initially opt for dieting and exercise to cut down excess body fat. However, with these efforts proving unsuccessful, more and more people are opting for surgical procedures to eliminate excess body fat and thus keep health problems at bay.
Weight-loss procedures such as Liposuction and Bariatric Surgeries are relatively expensive procedures that are executed by medical professionals. Weight-loss procedures were originally classified as cosmetic procedures and therefore did not qualify for health insurance coverage. But of late, the definition of weight-loss surgical procedures is gradually coming under the ambit of health essentials. Let’s look at the weight loss procedures covered by insurance policies and those that are not.
Weight-Loss Procedure Covered By Insurance
Strictly speaking, health insurance providers consider weight-loss procedures like liposuction or bariatric surgery to be cosmetic in nature. Therefore, most people who submit medical bills for these weight-loss procedures will find that their bills are rejected. However, there are some weight loss surgery insurance secrets that one should know to improve the chances of getting the medical bills cleared by the insurance providers. But first, let’s look at the most common weight-loss procedures that people undergo:
Liposuction Is a procedure where excess fat in specific body parts, like the hips, thighs, and abdomen, is sucked out by inserting a very thin tube. Liposuction is generally used for cosmetic purposes and does not qualify for medical insurance reimbursements under normal circumstances.
Bariatric surgery Is a very effective way to lose weight and reduce the health risks associated with obesity. There are two types of bariatric surgery.
- The first type focuses on placing physical restrictions on the stomach’s capacity to hold food, thereby controlling the number of calories consumed.
- The second type of bariatric surgery focuses upon malabsorption, by reducing the length of the small intestine or totally bypassing it.
In many countries, medically supervised weight loss programs covered by insurance are common. But in India, medical insurance companies do not offer coverage for cosmetic surgeries. Since liposuction and bariatric surgery are classified as cosmetic procedures, chances are that such bills will be rejected when presented to the medical insurer. However, if you can establish that the weight-loss procedure was necessary from the health point of view, there is a good possibility for your insurance company clearing your weight-loss surgical procedure. Here, the doctor’s role is crucial as they can explain that the surgery was necessary to prevent the patient’s obesity from leading to other potentially dangerous conditions.
When you approach your health insurer for reimbursement of medical expenses related to weight loss procedures, make sure to attach the medical reports in their entirety. Proper documentation will strengthen your case and reduce the chances of summary rejection. Even the courts have come to the rescue of obese people who have taken the help of weight loss procedures and refused insurance support. Consumer forums have also ruled that weight loss procedures can also be considered as a health requirement rather than a cosmetic procedure alone.
In a positive development of sorts for obese people in India, quite a few health insurance providers have been approving weight loss procedures on a case by case basis. A lot depends on the patients’ ability to convince the insurers about the necessity of the procedure for health purposes rather than cosmetic reasons. Some of the leading health insurance entities include HDFC, United India Assurance, Bajaj Allianz and Star Health Insurance. Of late, some of the leading hospitals have also tied up with health insurance companies, to provide insurance coverage for weight loss procedures like liposuction and bariatric surgery.
It makes sense to check out beforehand with your medical insurance provider if they provide coverage for weight loss procedures. Find out what expenses are covered and the specific types of procedures that come under insurance cover. Some insurers offer coverage on payment of additional premium while others have a rider option. With a bit of homework, you can see it’s easy to zero in on the best health insurance for weight loss surgery. Obesity is no longer a health condition that is the preserve of the rich and affluent, or those who are past their prime. Under the circumstances, it becomes all the more important for you to keep abreast of weight loss procedures covered by insurance so that you can save yourself from financial inconvenience.