Private Insurance For Weight Loss Surgery Better Than Medicare, Study Finds

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The degree of weight loss achieved after gastric bypass surgery,  and the  amount of postsurgical complications are related to the patient’s insurance policy, study finds.

A recent study conducted by Stanford University School of Medicine, shows that among all those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, people with private insurance tended to be more successful with their weight loss program.

People, on the other hand, whose surgery costs were borne by the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly and the aged, needed extra exercise and nutritional support to sustain the weight. These people also tended to weigh more before the surgery and are more liable to depression, high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes, cholesterol and sleep apnea.

Insurance coverage for such a surgical procedure needs to be approved under the rules laid out by National Institute of Health. At the same time, insurance companies would only help over your surgical costs if your obesity related surgical procedure has been approved by the concerned surgeon as “mandatory” with regards to safeguarding your health.

In case you suffer from diseases such as diabetes or cardiac ailments, the concerned doctor can convey the same to the insurance companies and you can avail aid in the form of Medicare and Medicaid.

Gastric Bypass Surgery which works by tapering the digestive tract to decrease the amount of food that can be absorbed and digested by the body, is becoming increasingly popular.

Dr Morton, from Stanford University School of Medicine says that Gastric Bypass surgery is very successful and all attempts should be made to ensure that each patient has equal chances to success.

To be able to avail weight loss insurance surgery coverage, you need to request your doctor to prepare a strong case as that would serve as the foundation on the basis of which the concerned insurance companies would finance your medical bills.

More Weight Loss for the Private Insured Patients

Dr Morton and his colleagues surveyed 750 gastric bypass patients with private insurance or the Medicare/Medicaid (State-federal run insurance programs). A year after their respective surgeries all patients lost considerable weight, but those with private insurance lost more.

Dr Morton, in a telephone interview said that the Medicare patients lost 57% of their excess weight, which is significantly lower than the private insurance group which lost 82% of their excess weight!

Fewer Complications for the Private Insured Patients

Moreover the Medicare group had higher complication rates as compared to the private insurance group. Dr Morton added, however, that Medicare patients had the maximum reductions in levels of low density lipo-protein or LDL, the ‘bad’ cholesterol known to cause heart disease.

The Medicare-insured guys also showed better results in combating fasting insulin – the measure of diabetes. And as I mentioned earlier, this group started out on the heavier of the “heavy” side, most having a BMI score touching 50, which ranked them in the “super-obese” category.

In the BMI scale, the “morbidly obese” are those who fall between the ranges of 40-49. People with a BMI of 50 and above are considered to ‘super obese’.

The study illustrated that the Medicare patients started off with greater disadvantages and required more medical aid and nutritional support post surgery as well.

Dr Morton noted that in the U.S. morbid and super obesity are primary public health concerns and gastric bypass surgery can be an effective way of fighting this disorder.

Source: Reuters

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