Today, I was asked about where the out of pocket fee for weight loss surgery went. As many are aware, in Australia, for privately insured patients, there is an out of pocket cost of anywhere between $3500 to $8000 for weight loss surgery. This fee is not rebatable from the health fund nor medicare.
This fee varies between different surgeons and different clinics. Generally, this fee covers:
1. Lifelong aftercare – obesity is a lifelong illness. It is never sorted out with one operation. The fee covers immediate post-operative visits and followup appointments with the surgeon possibly for many years after the original surgery
2. Further surgery – about 30-40% of gastric band patients and 10% of sleeve gastrectomy patients will require further revisional surgery down the track
3. Dietician visits – surgery is a tool to assist in weight loss. Support from dietician is critical to achieving weight loss goals
4. Psychologist visits – often there are mental barriers to achieving weight loss
5. Band adjustments – gastric band / lap band patients require constant band fills
As you can see, the one off out of pocket fee covers many essential elements necessary to achieve weight loss.
Be wary of clinics which do not provide all the above services as part of their weight loss package despite charging the excess fee.