Weight Loss Surgery and Obama Care: What’s in Store?

It’s time to plan for Obama Care. I’ve been getting questions and concerns about the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obama Care.  This regulation goes into effect in January of 2014, and the news regarding coverage for bariatric surgery is not good.

Let me explain some coverage concerns.  Each state is to establish an affordable health plan for individuals who cannot afford health insurance.  These plans are called a health care exchange. If your place of work doesn’t provide insurance for you, then you can buy and get your health care from the providers that participate with the exchange.  Every business or company with 50 or more employees has to provide an insurance plan to its employees or pay a fine. However, the fine is much less than the cost of insurance. So, it is anticipated that may companies or businesses will choose to drop their current health care plans, pay the fine, and allow employees to buy their insurance from the exchange. Hopefully, this won’t happen to you.
Each state is to establish a basic health plan for their exchange. The state of Colorado had a panel that evaluated several health plans many of which had gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and lap-band coverage, but the final decision resulted in a plan that does NOT cover bariatric surgery.  Only 23 states in the US will have coverage for obesity and severe obesity in spite of the many studies that demonstrate weight-loss surgery as the superior therapy for morbid obesity. Maybe Governor Chris Christie’s story will open some eyes.
So if you have been considering weight-loss surgery for treating morbid obesity and obesity-related illnesses such as type II diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and others…the time to act is NOW. The majority of insurance plans require 3 to 6 months of medically supervised weight loss programs. If you get started in June, you will be able to have your surgery before any changes occur to your insurance.
Colorado Bariatric Surgery Institute has an established weight loss program that can help you reach your goals, but it is best to start now. Give us a call (303-861-4505) or email us (insurance@coloradobariatric.com) if you would like to get started on achieving your desired weight-loss and improved health.
We are here to help you.
Dr. Tom Brown
Colorado Bariatric Surgery Institute