Insurance Information & Costs
Financial considerations need to be addressed because the cost of the bariatric weight loss surgery and follow-up differ according to the complexity of the operation. Most insurance companies approve benefits for the surgery if certain criteria are met, and these vary between individual insurances. Other companies, however, have exclusion clauses for the treatment of obesity. The office staff at The New Image will help you with your insurance company. If your weight loss surgery is denied, the office will work with you and your primary care physician to appeal the decision in the attempt to get it overturned. If your weight loss surgery is excluded from your policy, The New Image accepts financing through PFS Financial Services which must be approved prior to weight loss surgery.
What does the insurance cover?
If the patient is a qualified candidate for bariatric weight loss surgery (which is determined during the initial consultation) the surgery and the hospitalization is often covered. Depending upon a patient’s individual insurance plan, the coverage usually ranges from 50-100% of the costs of surgery and hospitalization. Each patient is encouraged to contact their insurance company to inquire about their coverage for the procedure.
IRS FIGURES WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAMS INTO TAX DEDUCTIBLE MEDICAL EXPENSES
WASHINGTON, December 18, 2000-This year, for the first time, taxpayers can deduct the cost of weight loss programs as medical expenses. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has revised it policy to give tax relief to many individuals who pay out-of-pocket for weight loss programs.
"Treatment for weight loss has been ignored for too long," said Richard Atkinson, M.D., president of the American Obesity Society (AOA). The IRS states in its new policy that "you can include medical expenses the cost of a weight-loss program undertaken at a physician’s direction to treat an existing disease (such as heart disease). But you cannot include the cost of a weight-loss program if the purpose of the weight control is to maintain your general good health."
The AOA led a coalition of nine other organizations that petitioned the IRS to allow for weight loss treatment deduction. The AOA also submitted substantial evidence indicating that obesity is a disease, and that weight loss by an obese person prevents the onset of disease.
"The new IRS policy will provide much needed assistance to individuals and families faced with devastating medical bills incurred from treating conditions that can be alleviated with weight loss," said AOA Executive Director Morgan Downey. "The policy change, which appears in the IRS Publication 502, would assist taxpayers who itemize medical deductions or employees who have a medical savings account (MSA) or flexible savings account (FSA) with their employer."
Treatment for weight loss includes behavioral counseling, nutritional counseling, pharmacology, and surgery. "Items such as health club dues, over-the counter products, and nutritional supplements would not be included," said Downey. "receiving direction from a knowledgeable physician on the appropriate treatment or combination of treatments is important for comprehensive, successful treatment," added Adkinson.
Medical expenses are tax deductible if they amount to more than 7.5% of taxpayer’s adjusted gross income. The AOA has produced a document to help taxpayers understand the new policy entitled A Taxpayer’s Guide on IRS Policy to Deduct Weight Control Treatment.