Does Medicare Cover Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Yes, Original Medicare generally covers gastric bypass surgery, as long as your healthcare provider deems it medically necessary and you meet specific criteria related to obesity and certain health issues.

These criteria often include a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher, at least one obesity-related comorbidity, and previous unsuccessful attempts at medical treatment for obesity.

Coverage can vary depending on your circumstances and location, so it’s always best to check with your provider or Medicare for the most accurate information.

Who Is Qualified for This Surgery?

To qualify for Medicare coverage of gastric bypass surgery, the following criteria must typically be met:

  • The surgery is deemed medically necessary by a healthcare provider.
  • A Medicare-approved provider performs the procedure in an inpatient setting, such as a hospital.
  • The individual undergoing the surgery has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or higher.
  • The individual has at least one obesity-related co-morbidity, such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or sleep apnea.

It’s important to remember that these are general guidelines, and coverage may vary depending on the specific details of your case. Always consult your healthcare provider and Medicare representative to confirm your eligibility.

How Much Does a Gastric Bypass Cost?

The cost of gastric bypass surgery can vary based on the procedure and your specific case details. On average, gastric bypass surgery in the United States typically ranges between $15,000 and $35,000.

Below is an explanation of how your Medicare options can cover gastric bypass surgery:

  • Original Medicare: Medicare Part A offers coverage for inpatient hospital services, while Part B covers outpatient services. Both parts have a deductible that you are responsible for, after which Medicare will cover 80% of the Medicare-approved amount, leaving you responsible for the remaining 20%.
  • Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C): An Advantage Plan can help cover gastric bypass surgery costs. These plans are alternatives to Original Medicare, and the coverage varies by plan.
  • Medicare Supplement Plans: Medigap plans are specifically designed to fill the “gaps” in coverage left by Original Medicare. These gaps include coinsurances, copayments, and deductibles, which can lead to significant out-of-pocket expenses. With coverage of up to 100%, these plans effectively alleviate your financial responsibility by covering the costs that Medicare only partially covers.

What Are the Benefits of Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery offers several potential benefits for those struggling with obesity. Some of these include:

  • Significant Weight Loss: The primary benefit of gastric bypass surgery is substantial weight loss. Most patients lose about 60-80% of excess body weight within the first year of surgery.
  • Improved Overall Health: The surgery can alleviate or resolve obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol, improving the patient’s overall health and quality of life.
  • Enhanced Mental Health: Losing weight can also lead to an improvement in mental health. Many patients report a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety and an increase in self-esteem and body image after surgery.

While the benefits can be substantial, gastric bypass surgery has potential risks and complications. It’s essential to have a comprehensive discussion with your healthcare provider to understand the full implications of the procedure.

Bottom Line

Gastric bypass surgery is a serious but potentially life-changing procedure for individuals who suffer from obesity and related health issues.

Medicare coverage for gastric bypass surgery can vary depending on your circumstances, so it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider and Medicare representative to confirm eligibility.

With the help of a qualified medical team and appropriate care, gastric bypass surgery can offer substantial benefits and improved health outcomes for those who qualify.



Mark Prip

Since 2003, Mark Prip has been leading  Policy Guide, Inc., providing knowledgeable information about Medicare, life insurance, and dental coverage to clients in over forty states. With his unparalleled hands-on experience aiding countless Medicare beneficiaries in selecting an appropriate health plan, he is a prime example amongst other competitors for expertise and assistance. Mark has held his Florida Health & Life Insurance License (E051889) since 2003. View his license profile on the Florida Department of Insurance website.