Costs can vary based on your location. When considering how you will pay for surgery, the price of laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery should not affect your decision to choose a qualified surgeon. Of the three most popular bariatric surgeries (Lap Band, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass), gastric bypass is the most expensive. Duodenal switch surgery and some revision procedures are usually the most expensive of all bariatric procedures.
Our price survey for 2015 indicates that the average cost of gastric bypass surgery dropped by about $800 compared to 2014.
- $15,000 to $35,000 is the pricing range across the country.
- $23,000 is the most often quoted average surgery price.
- $25,571 is the average cost of gastric bypass.
* The above prices are cash prices.
Is A Lower Price Better?
A lower price is not always better. In fact, the lowest prices are almost always offered outside of the United States. Medical Tourism has become very popular because they are able to offer such a large decrease in the price of surgery that it more than offsets the price of the trip (which is often included in the price). While surgery out of the country has its own set of pluses and minuses, choosing surgery based solely on price is generally not a good idea.
Gastric bypass surgery is major surgery and while the chance of a major complication is low, it can and does happen. On the day of surgery, you don’t want to wonder if you chose a surgeon that isn’t the best to save a few dollars. You will have enough worries and second-guessing of your decision – this is normal. So while the price is obviously important, it shouldn’t be the only factor when determining your surgeon.
Prices Vary By State
Gastric bypass is one of the best procedures for long-term weight loss. While many insurance companies cover gastric bypass surgery, some of us are stuck paying out-of-pocket. Different surgeons and different facilities offer a wide range of prices. And if you’re willing to travel, you’ll notice that our 2015 price survey shows a wide variance of prices across the U.S.
It’s important to note that traveling for gastric bypass carries some significant downsides. You will not be able to attend support groups. It will be difficult to make your pre and post-op appointments. Our advice, shop around but make sure you’re not traveling so far that it will prevent you from the much-needed post-op support.
Does A Low Price Indicate My Surgeon Is Less Skilled?
No. Interestingly, it does not appear that there is a direct correlation between price and surgeon experience or skill (which is difficult to measure). In fact, the hospital usually creates the cash price and the surgeon can choose to offer this price to his or her patients. Some surgeons will choose a higher price and others will choose to offer the hospital price in order to gain more business. This is especially true for new surgeons (that may be highly trained) that are still trying to build their base of business.
A better indicator of skill is the surgeon’s experience and complication rate. When you start interviewing surgeons, ask how many of each procedure they have performed and what is their complication rate? The US average complication rate ranges from 7% to 14% according to most studies Adams TD, Gress RE, Smith SC, et al. (August 2007), “Long-term mortality after gastric bypass surgery”, N. Engl. J. Med. 357 (8): 753–61.
If you can find a surgeon that has performed many procedures, has a low complication rate, is friendly, truly interested in making you healthier, and his gastric bypass surgery price is somewhere in the middle or lower end of the spectrum, then you’ve found a winner.
Will Insurance Pay For Gastric Bypass?
Yes. It is typically covered if your policy includes coverage and you meet the criteria per your policy. Note that many policies specifically exclude coverage. Employers will do this because it’s less expensive if its excluded. A quick call to HR can usually answer any questions you may have about coverage. And arm yourself with data that shows the effects of obesity. Ask your HR department if they would consider including coverage. You can also check if your insurance carrier offers coverage.
After Surgery Costs
- Nutritionist appointments are often out of pocket or negotiated before surgery These can range from $50 USD per visit to over $100 per visit.
- Follow-up visits with your bariatric surgeon are typically free or covered by insurance.
- Complications can be extremely expensive. If the surgery is covered by insurance, then complications are typically covered as well. Treatment of wound site infections is typically paid for by the hospital.
- New clothes. Gastric bypass patients typically lose weight very fast. Be prepared to buy new clothes because within two months you will need some.
Long Term Costs To Consider
- Nutritional supplements. Most patients take vitamins and occasionally protein shakes for the rest of their lives. Quality vitamins and supplements are a necessary part of your new life. These supplements can be $50/month.
- Gym membership? It’s not necessary to get a gym membership but it is necessary to increase your activity level. Are you more likely to implement regular exercise at a gym or in another way?
- Being out and about. You’re more likely to enjoy life and get up off the couch when you are feeling good about yourself. This doesn’t have to cost money but it can!
Saving Money After Surgery
It’s important to note that you’ll also save money after you lose weight. And it adds up. Not only is your diet considerably restricted after gastric bypass surgery, but medical bills, prescription co-pays, labs, and food bills will decrease. Use our affordability calculator to see how much you’ll save 3 years after surgery.
Don’t Be Stopped
While there are a lot of costs to consider when you choose to have gastric bypass surgery, they shouldn’t scare you from having the procedure. This procedure saves lives and you can’t put a price tag on that.