Dallas Bariatric Surgeon Discusses Health Benefits for Weight Loss Surgery
Understanding their insurance policy is a critical step for patients considering bariatric surgery. Dr. David D. Kim explains what patients can do to properly plan and begin their weight loss journey.
Dallas, TX – For morbidly obese individuals, undergoing weight loss surgery is not only a major, life-changing decision, but also one that requires diligence in planning and preparation. For patients who have health insurance, part of the planning process includes determining if their policy includes coverage for weight loss surgery. According to Dr. David D. Kim, understanding their benefits early-on is one of the most important steps. With multiple insurance specialists and coordinators on staff at the Kim Bariatric Institute, Dr. Kim says his practice attempts to make this process as easy as possible.
“The complexity of the requirements and coverage can be confusing, and there is no manual on what questions to ask,” says Dr. Kim. “The best thing to do is enlist the assistance of an insurance counselor; this is what we provide for our patients at no cost. By answering a few simple questions and providing the policy information off of your insurance card, we can determine all the details of your coverage. This can be done by submitting a ‘Contact Us’ form [on our website], or in a 10 minute phone call.”
Dr. Kim and his staff also emphasize that patients should leave ample time during the calendar year when scheduling their weight loss surgery as the timeframe for an insurance-covered bariatric procedure can range anywhere from two to six months in lead time from the first contact. The majority of bariatric surgery insurance programs take approximately four months from the time of contact to scheduling surgery, notes Dr. Kim.
Dr. Kim notes that for a patient considering weight loss surgery in a given year, ideally they should contact Kim Bariatric Institute no later than July or August. “Surgery dates are limited,” he says. “There are only so many operating rooms and we can only do so many surgeries a week. Currently, we are scheduling the surgeries that have already been approved for October.” Since fall is quickly approaching, Dr. Kim recommends patients considering surgical weight loss treatment begin looking into their options as soon as possible.
Most insurance companies recognize that individuals diagnosed with morbid obesity have increased health risks that severely impact their quality of life, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and cancer. As a result, insurance providers often approve partial coverage or even most of the costs in a weight loss surgery, provided that a patient supplies proof that the procedure is a medical necessity. For patients, this involves demonstrating that they are able to commit to the lifestyle changes necessary after weight loss surgery, which is often accomplished by enrolling in a physician-supervised dieting program before their surgery. At Kim Bariatric Institute, it generally takes up to three weeks for patients to meet the surgery weight tracking and nutritional education requirements.
When asked about prospective patients who are considering bariatric surgery for 2013 and the upcoming year, Dr. Kim says that patients should begin by researching the surgery options and understanding the possible complications, as well as long-term rewards. “The Affordable Care Act is going to cause significant insurance changes in 2014, it is unlikely that the benefits will improve,” he says. “Step one is to understand your benefits. A simple call to our clinic will start this process and allow us to verify exactly what they are. Once we have this information, we can build the plan for them, outlining all the steps required to reach the end goal of having surgery and starting their new life.”
About David D. Kim, MD
Dr. David D. Kim earned his medical degree from Northeastern Ohio Medical University’s College of Medicine and completed his general surgery residency at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Certified by the American Board of Surgery, and a Fellow of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, Dr. Kim has received numerous honors, and is recognized as a leader in the field of bariatric surgery. Dr. Kim was named a “Surgeon of Excellence” by The American Society of Bariatric Surgery, and “Top Doctor” in the U.S. by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. in 2011 and 2012. He is available for interview upon request.
About Kim Bariatric Institute
Founded in 2003, Kim Bariatric Institute is a surgical weight loss center specializing in numerous bariatric surgery options for morbidly obese patients. The staff, which includes dietitians, nutritionists, exercise specialists, and psychologists, use a multidisciplinary approach to assist patients throughout the entirety of their journey and commitment towards better health by offering programs before and after surgery. Recognized by The American Society of Bariatric Surgery as a Center of Excellence® Kim Bariatric Institute offers LAP-BAND® System surgery, Gastric Sleeve Resection, Gastric Bypass, Duodenal Switch operations, and weight loss revision surgery. The center treats patients from Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Frisco, and many other areas.
For more information about Kim Bariatric Institute, visit www.drdkim.net and www.facebook.com/kimbariatrics.