Obesity is a real issue among all age groups in the United States. In fact, it affects approximately 35% of U.S. adults over the age of 65. Obesity is dangerous because it increases a person’s likelihood of experiencing a wide variety of potentially fatal conditions, including heart disease, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and more.

Still, losing weight can be extremely challenging. The relationships we have with food can be incredibly complex and our eating patterns can become harder to change as we get older. If you’re an older adult who’s affected by these issues, you may be interested in bariatric surgery as a potential solution. Keep reading to learn more about it and whether your Medicare health insurance will cover it.

Understanding Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery helps people lose weight if they feel incapable of losing on their own. There are several different procedures that can be defined as bariatric surgery. Each of them makes weight loss easier in different ways.

When most people talk about bariatric surgery, they’re referring to a gastric bypass. This involves surgically creating a smaller stomach pouch that’s smaller than the previous one a person had. With this, the person will naturally eat significantly smaller meals, since their stomach won’t be able to hold as much food. This translates to fewer calories consumed and less absorption of those calories.

Gastric bypasses have been proven to help those who undergo them to lose weight more efficiently. Stats show that the average patient will lose about 60 to 80% of their excess weight after going through with a gastric bypass. This makes it an excellent way to address your obesity — especially if you’ve had trouble with losing weight on your own.

Other bariatric surgery options you may consider include a sleeve gastrectomy, an adjustable gastric band, and a biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. Each of these can make losing weight easier for you. The best way to figure out which is your best option is to consult with a specialist.

Bariatric Surgery for Older Adults

Bariatric surgery does carry some risks. Because of that, doctors have agreed upon a cut-off age of 70. Essentially, if you’re over 70 years old, then the chances of a doctor agreeing to perform bariatric surgery on you are very low. However, exceptions may be made for special cases, so it’s still worth checking in with your physician.

Covering Bariatric Surgery with Medicare

If you’re an older adult interested in bariatric surgery, you may be able to have a portion of the costs of the procedure covered by Medicare. Your Medicare coverage likely includes some bariatric procedures, such as gastric bypass surgery and laparoscopic banding surgery. However, you will need to meet specific health criteria to qualify for coverage.

If you’re wondering whether your Medicare Part A or Part B coverage includes bariatric surgery, we can help. Contact us to learn more about bariatric surgery and Medicare by filling out this form or giving us a call. We’re standing by to provide you with the information you need to make a more informed decision about your health.