In order to qualify for weight loss surgery you have to be considered morbidly obese. By definition this term means that you suffer from obesity and because of this you are more likely to suffer from comorbidities.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) set the standards to measure and treat obesity. There are many factors that are considered. However, in the United States, if you meet the simple guidelines below you qualify to have surgery. This does not mean that your insurance company will cover surgery!
- You are over the age of 18.
- Your body mass index is over 40, or…
- Your body mass index is over 35 with one or more comorbid conditions. BMI, Body Mass Index, is a measurement of your height over your weight.
- BMI is a standard measurement.
- It’s part of criteria to qualify for bariatric surgery in the United States.
Most insurance companies require what the NIH requires and often a little bit more.
- 35 BMI or higher with one or more comorbid conditions or
- 40 BMI or higher
Enter your Weight (lbs)
Enter your Height (inches)
What does your number mean?
|Body Mass Index||Description|
|Less than 18.5||Underweight|
|18.5 to 24.9||Healthy Weight|
|25 to 29.9||Overweight|
|30 to 34.9||Obese|
|35 to 39.9||Severely Obese|
|Greater than 40||Morbidly Obese|
Its important to know that many thin people show up as overweight on this chart. Bodybuilders often fall into the obese class.
BMI is not a perfect measurement but it is the most important single measurement that qualifies you for weight loss surgery.
To find out exactly what your insurance requires to approve weight loss surgery, please see our section, Does My Insurance Cover Weight Loss Surgery?
Reviewed by Patricia Sullivan, BSN, RN, CNOR, CBN
Patricia is a registered nurse who brings with her over 18 years of clinical nursing experience. While an RN First Assistant in the operating room, she developed an interest in the perioperative care of the bariatric surgery patient.
She is currently the Program Coordinator at the JFK For Life Program As program coordinator she is able to supervise the entire pre and post-operative process of the patients in the JFK For Life program.
Patricia oversees monthly support group meetings, organizes new patient seminars and provides pre and post-operative education. Patricia is committed to making each patient’s weight loss journey successful and to provide them with the tools they need to live healthier lives.