Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who Pays for Lap Band Surgery?

Someone I know is considering lap band surgery. She is in her twenties and on welfare. Imagine my shock to learn that lap band surgery is covered by Medicaid?!?!
If you have insurance, find out if your plan includes coverage for lap band
surgery. While it is true that lap band surgery was once considered experimental
or investigational, it is now accepted as a covered weight loss surgery
procedure by many insurance companies including Medicare.

Lap band surgery can be a viable option for people. It is a personal choice. However, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth to learn that my taxpayer dollars will pay for it. On the same site listed above, they admit that the cost of this procedure can run from $15,000 to $25,000! Another site details this:
Many people meet the qualifications for Medicaid or Medicare assistance,
which covers the cost of medical care for many people. Sometimes they will pay
the entire bill, sometimes a co-payment is required. To be eligible for
Medicaid, you must have a limited income as well as meet certain other
requirements, including age, disabilities, citizenship, income and other
resources. To qualify for Medicare, you must be age 65 or older, under 65 with
certain disabilities (many people with morbid obesity are categorized as
disabled under the Social Security Act), or have End-State Renal Disease
(permanent kidney failure that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant).
determine if you qualify, you should contact the appropriate social services
agency in your area. If you do not know where the local office is located, the
address and phone number can usually be found in the front of most telephone
books under government listings. You can also visit the website for either the
CMS ( or HHS ( if you want to search
for additional information.
Source: aboutlapbandsurgery

I cannot stress enough how this offends me. Recently my husband's employer raised the paycheck deduction for our piss-poor insurance by such an amount we had to drop it. It was a choice between paying our bills or having coverage that didn't even cover prescriptions. I couldn't afford to buy my daughter the Singulair she needs for her asthma ($102 per month) even when we had the insurance.

I don't begrudge those who need medicare or medicaid. It provides life saving and life sustaining checkups, medications and procedures for those who need it. I just don't feel lap band surgery qualifies, especially for someone in their twenties. With our taxes sure to be raised with all the new government programs starting in the near future, it offends me even more. I'll leave you with this quote:
A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take
everything you have.


Kristin said...

Preach it sister!

Beautiful Mess said...

Hmmm I'm not sure about this. On one hand, I think the lap band is a pretty amazing life saving operation and there are some people who really do need it. Then again on the other hand, there are some things Medicare doesn't pay for but should. I'm just so torn about this one. I'll have to think about it and over analyze it until my brain explodes and get back to ya ;o)

rys said...

See, I don't have a problem with lap band surgery. I don't have a problem with Medicaid. I have a real problem with paying for lap band surgery for a twenty-something, especially when I can't afford the meds to help my daughter BREATHE. That's the kick in the teeth on this one.