Do Medical Aids Cover Gastric Bypass Operations?

LORETTE VAN ZYL

Historically many medial aids have considered weight loss surgery as a cosmetic procedure and have not covered the costs of gastric bypasses. But medical schemes in South Africa are starting to pay out for par or all of weight loss related surgery provided that the physician establishes that the operation is medically necessary to preserve the health of the patient.

Gastric bypass surgery is expense and so is bariatric surgery. If a medical aid does cover the surgery, they often don’t cover the cost of plastic surgery to remove excess skin after weight loss. Nor is the price for diet counseling and the necessary supplements included.

One of the first insurers to cover weight loss surgery was Discovery Health. But this is only available on the Executive and Comprehensive Plans and preauthorization was necessary. Bonitas medical aid covers the surgery too, provided that member is morbidly obese. Preauthorization is also required. Other schemes that do cover the surgery include Medshield, Metropolitan Health and Momentum Health. However, you should check with your specific medical aid provider.

One can ultimately prevent becoming overweight or obese but a complete lifestyle change is necessary and very challenging. Healthier food choices must be made and regular exercise is a necessity. When these measures aren’t enough then a person may require weight loss surgery to help them achieve a healthy weight.

Leave a Reply