Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my insurance covers this surgery?
You should either contact your insurance company directly or review your policy yourself to determine if you are covered for weight loss surgery. Some insurance policies will not cover surgical treatment of obesity under any circumstances. Others will cover surgery if patients meet criteria and some do not cover all types of weight loss surgery. If your policy requires 6 months of diets within the past year, you should start seeing your family doctor right away for monthly diet and exercise counseling.
How do I know if I qualify for the surgery?
Weight loss surgery is a treatment for severe obesity and its co-morbid conditions (medical problems directly caused by obesity), such as diabetes, high blood pressure, reflux disease, menstrual irregularities, urine incontinence, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), degenerative joint disease (arthritis and joint pain), etc.
If you have a BMI greater than or equal to 40, or 35 with medical problems related to your weight, you may qualify.
How long does the process (evaluation, insurance approval) take?
Once you make initial contact with our office, you will be sent a letter detailing information needed, a brochure, information on how to access your "EMMI" training, and our medical questionnaire. After you have received and considered the information, completed the questionnaire, returned it to our office and watched the EMMI programs, we will schedule your consultation. As soon as you have completed the EMMIs, we will give you your appointment to see the surgeon. Although doing the online education can be time consuming, we are confident you will feel much more educated after watching them. Patient satisfaction with the EMMI programs is near 100%.
We can usually accommodate patients within 1-3 weeks of completing the above. We strive to keep the wait at a minimum. Sometimes the wait is greater though, depending on the time of the year and the surgeon you wish to see. Following the consultation, we will provide you with a list of the work up your surgeon would like to make sure you are stable for surgery. We will also request permission from the insurance company to proceed with surgery (if you are deemed an appropriate candidate). Scheduling surgery occurs after approval arrives from the insurance company. Any additional consultations (cardiology, psychology, sleep study, etc.) may take additional time.
How much does the surgery cost if my insurance won’t cover it?
The Virginia Commonwealth University Health System has developed a ‘self-pay’ program for patients whose insurance companies will not cover the surgery. If you would like to inquire about specific fees involved in this program, please call 804.828.8000.