Doctor taking notes.

Average Cost of Lap Band Surgery

In How Much?, Insurance and Costs, Lap Bands by admin

Costs can vary based on your location. Do not let the price of Lap Band surgery affect your decision to choose a qualified surgeon. In fact, choosing a good surgeon is one of the most important choices you have prior to surgery.

  • $8,995 USD to $30,000 USD is the pricing range across the country.
  • $14,000 is the most often quoted average Lap Band price.
  • Cash prices tend to be lower than if insurance pays.
  • Surgery centers often offer out-patient Lap Banding procedures which can be less expensive than a hospital.

Prices By State

Based on our 2014 survey, prices can vary widely by state.

In states where weight loss surgery is prevalent (i.e. Texas and Oklahoma) prices tend to be lower. This is likely due to competition and higher surgery volumes.

Lap Band prices by state.

Should You Shop Around?

It makes sense to shop around if you are paying cash for Lap Band surgery. Prices vary widely throughout the United States. If possible, stay within a few hours of your hometown. Why? Follow-ups, support groups, and preoperative appointments will be easier to make. Successful Lap Band surgery is not just the result of having surgery. Lifestyle change is necessary to lose weight and keep it off. Your surgeon should offer regular support groups, a dietitian, and a often a psychiatrist or counselor on staff. Taking advantage of these resources is easier if your surgeon is close.

Should You Pay Cash For Your Lap Band Surgery?

The ability to pay cash for lap band surgery makes the decision to have surgery easier. You don’t have to worry about going through an insurance company, passing the required tests, making the necessary appointments, and following a medically supervised diet. As long as you meet the minimum requirements for gastric band surgery in the United States, you can have surgery as soon as a surgeon can get you on the schedule.

But before shelling out $15k for a gastric band, consider the following:

  1. How much weight will you lose from Lap Band surgery? Have you already weighed the risks and benefits?
  2. If you have a complication, will your insurance cover it or will you have to pay out of pocket?
    • Most insurance companies will cover complications but there are plenty of instances where they do not. Many people have flown to Mexico or India to save money. They return after a successful surgery and the band slips or they have problems swallowing and require an EGD (a scope placed down the esophagus) to diagnose the problem. Are you willing to pay these costs? They can be in the thousands. Make sure you call your insurance company and let them know you are paying cash for gastric band surgery and you want to be sure that they will cover the cost of any complications.
  3. Ask your surgeon what is included with lap band surgery?
    • Most bariatric surgeons will provide you with before and after consultations, long term support, and free or low cost lap band fills.
    • Some practices offer dietitian services, support groups, and some even have their own Smartphone App. Apps make a great patient tool. They let you stay connected for years after surgery and also let you monitor your progress.

Do I Qualify For Surgery?
In the United States you must meet the minimum requirements below before having gastric band surgery.

  • Body Mass Index of 40 or greater or;
  • Body Mass Index of 35 or greater with at least two comorbidities.

Meeting the above two requirements does not mean that your insurance company will cover surgery. In fact, almost all of the insurance companies have requirements beyond the two listed above.

If you are paying cash for your procedure and having it performed in the United States, then you only have to meet the requirements above.

Is Lap Band Surgery Covered by Insurance?

Yes. It typically is covered if you meet the requirements per your policy.

Need To Convince Your Spouse?

Savings Calculator

 

Paying cash for Lap Band surgery is expensive and you might need to convince your spouse or family members that it’s worth it. Yes, you’ll lose weight, feel better and reduce your long-term medical expenses. But will those savings actually offset the $10k cost of the procedure?

This calculator will show your expected savings over a 3 year period. Guess what? Your savings will likely offset the cost of Lap Band surgery within 3 years. Print your results or email them to your family or spouse.

After Lap Band Surgery Costs

Many of the items below are covered by your insurance provider if your procedure was covered. But most of these are not covered if you paid cash. You’ll want a very clear answer from your surgeon confirming that they offer these services and that your payment for surgery includes the follow-up expenses. If your surgeon’s office is not able to clearly detail what is covered after surgery, then you may want to find a new surgeon.

  • Nutritionist appointments are often out of pocket or negotiated before surgery. These can range from $50 USD per visit to over $100 per visit.
  • Lap Band fills or adjustments are often covered by insurance for the first year.
  • Lap Band fills can cost anywhere from $75 USD to over $300 USD per visit if not covered by insurance.
  • After surgery follow-up visits with your bariatric surgeon are typically free.
  • Complications can be extremely expensive. If the surgery is covered by insurance, then complications are typically covered as well. Treatment of wound site infections are typically paid for by the hospital or surgery center.

Other Costs To Consider

Lap Band surgery is a life changing (often life saving) procedure. To be successful with gastric band surgery habits will have to change. As habits change you may incur new costs.

  • Gym memberships can cost between $20 and $150 per month.
  • Healthier foods (organic or not) with a focus on quality proteins are typically more expensive than unhealthy options.
  • New clothes. As the weight drops off, new clothes will be a must. Enjoy fitting into smaller outfits but prepare for the cost.
  • Going out and enjoying life. This doesn’t have to cost anything but it can. As you become happier and healthier you will want to spend time out with friends again. After surgery, sitting on your couch is a habit you will want to change. Again, this doens’t have to cost anything, but its always good to be prepared.

While there are many costs in the lists above, gastric band surgery should be a positive change in your life. And its impossible to put a price tag on the cost of health, happiness and productivity.

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