I need weight loss surgery but can’t afford it

Question Below Submitted By:  

Tania King (a patient from Unity, Canada)

I am a 39 yr old who has been desperately needing weight loss surgery but I am cut down every way I turn because I’m told that I don’t have a life-threatening illness.

Apparently I’m not being considered because I don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure and because I am active.

My partner lost her job, my hours have been cut by 30 per pay period and I cant afford to pay for surgery on my own. I’m also told that I need to see a psychiatrist as I may not be mentally ready either.

I’m told too many differing things and I just want my life back. Is there anyone willing to give me a chance and help me?

Bariatric Surgery Source

Expert Responses to the Question Above


by: Jeff

Hi Tania,

The first step towards determining whether weight loss surgery is appropriate for you and would be approved by any surgeon would be to calculate your body mass index (BMI) to determine whether it is high enough to make you eligible for surgery.

If your BMI is over 40, you do not need to have any serious health problems in order to be approved by your surgeon. Assuming you have insurance that covers bariatric surgery, the requirements will be similar to those of responsible bariatric doctors, including a BMI above 40 (or above 35 with serious obesity-related health problems), a psychological examination (this is required for everyone, not just for surgical candidates that a surgeon feels is not mentally prepared for surgery or its repercussions a nutritional evaluation, a recommendation from a doctor other than your weight loss surgeon and proof that you've participated in a clinically supervised weight loss surgery program for a certain length of time.

You'll also need to be sure that your surgeon and their hospital is included in your insurance plan's network. If you don't have insurance or your insurance won't cover it, you have several options to make it more affordable including weight loss surgery financing and/or financial aid for surgery.

You can follow the links above for more information about each topic, and if you haven't done so already, review our Bariatric Treatment section to learn all about weight loss surgery and whether it's truly the right option for you.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the "click here to post comments" link below.

Take care,


Patient Responses to the Question Above

I want to live

by: Corliss

I have had a stroke to years ago that keeps me from being as active as I could be. I am over weight with high blood pressure I can't afford my medications. I need to lose at least 125 pounds. Please I am desperate.

There are ways

by: Mindy

I was in the same boat as you when I first started my weight loss journey, I was "healthy' other than being over weight. I was active, held a job, etc. We were able to pay our bills but that was about it. Our credit was shot so financing was not an option, and I had no insurance. So what do you do to get a $12,000 surgery?

Here are a few tips I can give you:

1. If your credit is bad, fix it. Easy, huh? Well, yes and no. Pull your credit report. Chances are there is a lot of info on there that is wrong. Dispute it (online never on the phone). As things fall off your credit your score will come up.

2. If you have some small items on your credit score that can be paid off, pay them. Again your score will come up.

3. I got a part time job cleaning houses and all the money I made went to my surgery.

4. Self-pay surgeons are going to be more "flexible" about what you have to do in order to qualify than others.

5. If you can clean your credit score up enough to get financing approved you can finance your weight loss surgery.

Hope that helps a little. Sometimes it takes a while but it's worth the wait - I had to wait for 2 years!

i need help

by: Sylvia

I know what you mean....I need to get a lap band removal surgery and I can't afford it. I have been approved for gastric bypass but can't get it 'til I get my lap band removed.

I did succeed on my lap band but when I got sick I was diagnosed with a disease that they put me on medicines that caused my weight to shoot up and now I'm having a terrible time losing my weight and I have been having a lot of health problems. I was also told that if I didn't lose weight soon I would end up in a wheelchair.

That has scared me so much that all I do now is worry. I am on Medicaid and Medicare but they will not pay for the lap band removal so I am trying to find a way to get help for this surgery. I want to be around longer to see my grandchildren grow up and grow old watching my own children have their own families.

So please if you do find a place that will be willing to help people out with situations like this please let me know. I would very much appreciate it.

Tired of feeling ugly

by: Sandra

Even as I type this it saddens me. I am a 40 year old woman who lives alone. I work, come home and I'm here till the next morning.

I want to go out and enjoy friends and coworkers but I can never find anything to fit that's cute. I haven't dated anyone in about 3yrs. I have high blood pressure and hypothyroidism.

I've tried everything as far as diet there is. I hope someone will read this and help me have a life again. I'm praying God get this to someone.

I don't want to die

by: Candice

I am so lost. I had insurance. I had a referral for the surgery. I started a 6 month program, monthly visits with the surgeon, nutritionist, and physiologist, I was on a supervised diet, I did everything right.

On month 4 out of 6 I received a letter from my insurance that I was being dropped because I made too much money. I was on medicaid and it took forever for me to get the approval to start the program and when I do and do everything right and have only 2 appts left before getting the surgery to save my life....I get cut off.

I have checked into a self pay for the bypass but I cannot come up with $30000. With my weight I have limited mobility, I cannot even go to the grocery store anymore. I can barely wipe myself when go to the bathroom.

I am only 36 years old and have a 19 yr old daughter whom I want to be here for. I am still on the diet but not losing anything just like I wasn't when it was supervised. I am still taking the vitamins and doing what they told me...I am 5'3" and 380 lbs...my legs are so fat that I can't walk properly, my husband helps me shower, I am so depressed because I don't know what to do anymore.

My surgeon told me to keep coming to see him but that he was moving locations and they would call me to set my next appt...they never called...his number doesn't work because they moved. I really need this to help me LIVE...I cannot do this without the help...surgery isn't the easy way but for me it is the only way....I need help.

Please advise me what I can do. I have reapplied for medicaid but was denied. My husband's work is so small they don't offer insurance. We cannot afford the insurance on the marketplace because we live on one income for 4 people. I care for my elderly 80 year old grandmother as well. I need help.

I’m in the same boat

by: Kristal

Sandra- your situation is just as mines. I thought for a minute that wrote that. I’ll pray for us both that god will help us


by: Krisdy

15 yrs ago I was mauld by a crocodile, this left my mobility fragile, and in pain.

Over the years I have slowly gained weight then 5 yrs ago I went through menopause since then I have put on a lot more weight I have tried medications, boot camps dietitians, optifast optislim even tried Jenny Craig

I'm on a disability person looking after my disabled grandson I need help I'm 174cm tall 119kgs.
My legs cannot carry my weight.

I don't have the money for surgery.
I have tried everything.
My grandson is 10 yrs old he depends on me.

Surely there has to be other options.
The doctor just keeps on sending me to the same place over and over but nothing changes I just gain more weight

Feeling very ugly, unhealthy, unfit, obese

Need help

by: Vivian Franks

Hello I'm 50 years old 5'4" 203lbs with high blood pressure. I had bad rashes because my belly hangs down can't walk far my knees and joints hurt but I cannot afford surgery.

Need surgery

by: Sandra Cruz

I need surgery but insurance company doesn't cover it. I have had Three prior hernia repair surgeries and have another in my abdomen my doctor doesn't want to operate me the only solution is weight loss surgery. My goal is to lose this weight and feel better have tried different diet's and don't work.


by: Janda Bullock

I'm so over weight, I hurt everywhere. I've been in desperate need of knee surgery both knees for years now n every surgeon tells me no because I weigh too much!

My back hurts constantly n now i have spurs on my lower back. I've tried everything out there to lose weight. I just gain more weight back. Im begging u for help! Please please help me!

Weight loss surgery

by: Nacolea

I had the gastric bypass and gained a few more pounds so whats the best thing i should do that you no of.

Feeling hopeless

by: Charity Wright

I just went through my six months weigh ins and all of my doctor appointments.I had to switch insurance and when I did they denied me approval for the surgery. I am so heartbroken . I’m a bad diabetic and I have high blood pressure I have a herniated disc in my lower lumbar I have a curved spine that limited my mobility so therefore I can’t exercise to help lose weight I am 247 pounds, I have arthritis in my knees and I have neuropathy in my legs ankles and feet, I have small children who I want to be here for and don’t want them to have to care for me.

I am on able to work and I cannot afford the sleeve surgery. My dad and my mother-in-law both went blind with diabetes and eventually kill them and my uncle lost his toes and eventually his legs to diabetes and I need this surgery to help me to get rid of diabetes or to get it under control. I am lost for words.

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