Skip to Main Content

Schedule certain appointments online. Get started

Bariatric Surgery Costs and Insurance FAQs

Making a financial plan for the cost of bariatric surgery is an important part of your weight loss journey, but it can be stressful. At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, we’re here to answer your questions and clearly explain your options for covering the cost of bariatric surgery.

  • The cost of bariatric surgery depends on several factors. The most important is whether your health insurance plan covers weight loss surgery. If your insurance does not cover the cost and you’re paying for the surgery yourself, total costs range from $18,000 to $24,000 for a primary (first-time) surgery and $25,000 to $33,000 for a revision or conversion surgery.

    We help you plan by providing transparent, comprehensive pricing packages that include: 

    • Surgeon’s surgical fees
    • Surgical assistant’s fees
    • Hospital’s surgical fees
    • Postoperative visits for the first 90 days
    • Anesthesiologist fees
    • Nutritional counseling
  • Many insurance plans help cover the costs of bariatric surgery, but coverage varies according to your medical history and individual benefits of your plan.

  • Insurance coverage is different for every health plan and each location accepts different plans. Please check with the clinic staff at your care location to verify your coverage.

  • You can pay out of pocket if your policy doesn’t cover weight loss surgery or only covers part of the cost. We offer a special rate for self-pay patients. You also can obtain financing through one of several companies that allow you to pay over time with a weight loss surgery payment plan. (Please note: Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is not contracted with Care Credit.)

  • While all insurance companies differ, many look for similar criteria when deciding whether to approve weight loss surgery. Some (but not all) of the things they may look for include:

    • Documentation that you have a BMI of 40 or above
    • Documentation that you have a BMI of 35 to 40 with additional conditions, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure or high cholesterol
    • Documentation of your weight history for the past two years
    • A record that you’ve participated in a medically supervised weight loss program
    • Confirmation you’ve consulted with a registered dietitian
    • Confirmation you’ve consulted with a psychologist
  • Getting insurance approval is a multi-step process. The length of time varies depending on the insurance company. After all the insurance requirements are met, it takes us 1 to 2 weeks to send a letter to your insurance carrier to start the approval process. It usually takes 2 to 8 weeks to receive insurance approval. Your surgery can be scheduled after we receive this approval.

  • Coverage may be denied because there is a specific exclusion in your policy for obesity surgery or treatment of obesity. If there is a written exclusion stated in your policy, ask your employer about other policies. There may even be a short-term policy that you can use. When there is only one policy, and a written exclusion is listed, you may consider options such as self-pay, medical loan programs or a combination of both.

  • The Internal Revenue Service allows you to take a tax deduction on any out-of-pocket costs you incur from a physician-directed weight loss program because obesity is recognized as a medical disease. This includes what you pay for bariatric surgery but does not apply to any portion of the money that insurance pays.

Are you a candidate?

We invite you to take the next step to find out more about your weight loss options.