BCBS of Florida Weight Loss Surgery – How to Avoid a Denial

Your Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida weight loss surgery insurance coverage depends on several factors, all of which are reviewed below.

First, try our insurance tool to quickly check your insurance coverage:

Read and click below for additional weight loss surgery insurance details.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Click on any of the topics below to jump directly to that section

  1. Coverage Requirements
  2. Coverage Plans
  3. Covered Procedures
  4. Appealing a Denial
  5. Find a Weight Loss Surgeon
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01.

Coverage Requirements

SECTION SUMMARY:

  • 35+ Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Documentation of failed diet attempts
  • Psychological evaluation

READ THIS FIRST

Even if your insurance company covers bariatric surgery in some plans, that does not mean that your specific plan covers it. The obesity surgery approval requirements in this section assume that weight loss surgery is covered by your specific policy.

To confirm whether your specific policiy covers bariatric surgery, click here to contact a surgeon and ask for a free insurance check.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this page may not include all components of your insurance company’s medical policy and/or may not be up to date. Contact your insurance company to confirm all benefits.

In order to be approved by Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida for bariatric surgery in the United States, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be 18 years of age or older
  2. Diagnosis of Morbid obesity, defined as
  3. Or

    • BMI 35 – 39.9 AND one of the following
      • Type 2 diabetes
      • Hypertension
      • Coronary artery disease
      • Obstructive sleep apnea
      • GERD
      • Osteoarthritis
      • Pseudotumor cerebri

    Use this BMI Calculator to check your body mass index…

  4. Does not have a medically treatable cause for obesity (e.g., thyroid or other endocrine disorder)
  5. The physician requesting authorization for the surgery must confirm the following:
  6. The individual’s psychiatric profile is such that the candidate is able to understand, tolerate and comply with all phases of care and is committed to long-term follow-up requirements
  7. Has made multiple attempts at non-surgical weight loss (e.g., diet, exercise, medications)
  8. Has received psychological or psychiatric evaluation with counseling as needed, prior to surgical intervention

Adolecents Requirements

Adolecent bariatric surgery may be covered if the following are met:

  • Severely obese with a BMI of at least 50 with at least one less serious comorbidity refractory to medical management such as:
    • Hypertension
    • Dyslipidemia
    • Venous stasis disease
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
    • GERD
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Recurrent soft tissue infections
    • Significant impairment in activities of daily living
  • Severely obese with a BMI of at least 40, with at least one serious comorbidity refractory to medical management
    • Obesructive Sleep Apnea
    • Type 2 Diabetes
    • Pseudotumor Cerebri
  • Does not have a medically treatable cause for obesity (e.g., thyroid or other endocrine disorder)
  • Has attained a minimum of Tanner stage 4 pubertal development
  • Has reached skeletal maturity
  • Has made multiple attempts at non-surgical weight loss (e.g., diet, exercise, medications)
  • Has received psychological or psychiatric evaluation with counseling as needed, prior to surgical intervention

Revision Requirements

A Bariatric Revision or Removal:

  • Will be covered to address technical complications of the original bariatric procedure such as:
    • obstruction
    • stricture
    • erosion
    • band slippage/herniation
    • fistula
    • disruption/leakage of a suture/staple line
    • pouch enlargement due to vomiting)
  • Will not be covered to correct stretching of a stomach pouch created by a previous bariatric surgery procedure, due to overeating

If Your Policy Does NOT Cover It: Seek Partial Coverage

You may be able to get part of the costs paid for by insurance even if weight loss surgery isn’t covered. It’s all about how your doctor and hospital submit your claims to your insurance company.

For example, there are many non-bariatric surgery reasons for your doctor to recommend:

  • Cardiology exam
  • Lab work
  • Medically supervised diet program
  • Psychological exam
  • Sleep study

These are ordered for many reasons other than bariatric surgery and may be covered as a result. If your doctor submits one of these claims using a weight loss surgery CPT code (Current Procedural Terminology Code), your insurance is unlikely to cover it. But if your doctor uses a general CPT code, it probably will be covered.

While this may sound “sneaky”, it is an ethical practice. After all, these tests will be beneficial regardless of whether you move forward with surgery.

Contact Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida to Ask About Bariatric Surgery

02.

Coverage by Plan Type

SECTION SUMMARY:

  • Coverage Through Your Employer
  • Individual & Family Plans
  • Medicare

Before getting into the types of insurance plans, you can cut to the chase by contacting a local bariatric surgeon’s office. Most surgeons will contact your insurance company for free to confirm whether or not you’re covered.

Click here to find a local surgeon and ask them to check your insurance for you for free.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida does cover weight loss surgery, but your specific policy must include it in order for you get it covered.

Following are a list of Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida plan types and whether they cover bariatric surgery:

Weight Loss Surgery for Health Plans Through Your Work

If you work for a company that has 50 or more full time employees, it is completely up to your employer to decide whether or not to cover bariatric surgery under your health plan.

To find out whether weight loss surgery is covered by your employer’s plan, you have a few options:

Weight Loss Surgery for Individual/Family Plans

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires all individual and small group plans (less than 50 full time employees) to include weight loss surgery coverage as long as it is considered an “Essential Health Benefit” in your state.

The following states DO currently consider bariatric surgery an Essential Health Benefit (bariatric surgery is covered by all individual, family and small group plans in these states):

Your State Not on the List?

If your state is NOT on the list, then weight loss surgery is probably NOT covered under your plan.

First, contact your local surgeon to be sure. For no charge, their office will contact your insurance company on your behalf to work through the details.

If your surgeon confirms that your policy does not include obesity surgery, you still have several options for making surgery more affordable. See these pages for more information:

    • Arizona
    • California
    • Delaware
    • Hawaii
    • Illinois
    • Iowa
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New Mexico
    • New York
    • North Carolina
    • North Dakota
    • Oklahoma
    • Rhode Island
    • South Dakota
    • Vermont
    • West Virginia
    • Wyoming

Regardless of whether your state is on the list, contact a qualified surgeon to request a free insurance check to verify your coverage.

To review your insurance company’s obesity surgery coverage requirements, click here to jump back up the page.

Weight Loss Surgery for Medicare Plans

All Medicare plans are required to cover the following weight loss surgery procedures:

However, special Medicare-specific criteria apply. Click here to learn more about Medicare bariatric surgery coverage.

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03.

Covered Weight Loss Procedures

SECTION SUMMARY:

  • Gastric Sleeve
  • Gastric Bypass
  • Lap-Band
  • Duodenal Switch
  • Biliopancreatic bypass (Scopinaro)

Please see below for the procedures Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida covers, might cover under certain circumstances, and those that are not covered under any circumstances:

Procedures That ARE Covered

Procedures That MIGHT BE Covered

The following procedures MIGHT BE covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida:

Procedures That Are NOT Covered

The following procedures are NOT covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida:

  • Gastric Balloon
  • vBloc Therapy
  • AspireAssist
  • Mini Gastric Bypass Surgery
  • Vertical Banded Gastroplasty
  • Long-limb gastric bypass (> 150cm)
  • Biliopancreatic bypass without duodenal switch
  • Two-stage bariatric surgery procedures (e.g., sleeve gastrectomy as an initial procedure followed by biliopancreatic diversion at a later time)
  • Any bariatric surgical procedure as a treatment of type 2 diabetes in individuals with a BMI < 35
  • Stomach stapling, jejunoileal bypass, gastric wrapping, Garren-Edwards gastric bubble, silastic ring vertical gastric bypass (Fobi pouch; limiting proximal gastric pouch)
04.

Appealing a Denial

SECTION SUMMARY:

  • General Appeal Instructions
  • Appeal Details Specific to Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida

If Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida denies your weight loss surgery claim and you think it should be covered, consider filing an appeal.

Our Health Insurance Appeals page will get you started, then head over to the Disputes & Appeals page for Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida to learn how to proceed.

05.

Find A Top Weight Loss Surgeon

SECTION SUMMARY:

  • Ask for a free insurance check or cost quote
  • Attend a free seminar or webinar
  • Schedule a phone or in-person consultation (both often free)

Search the weight loss surgeon directory below to ask a surgeon about a free insurance check by country and region:

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