Arkansas BCBS Weight Loss Surgery - How to Avoid a Denial

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

To request a free insurance check, click here to contact a top local surgeon. Alternatively, use the tool below to find out if you have coverage.

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Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield Weight Loss Surgery

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 Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield for bariatric surgery in the United States, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be over the age of 20
  2. Diagnosis of Morbid obesity, defined as
  3. Or

    • BMI 35 – 39.9 AND one of the following
      • Diabetes mellitus
      • obstructive sleep apnea
      • Hypertension
      • Hyperlipidemia

    Use this BMI Calculator to check your body mass index…

  4. Have failed a structured weight loss program
  5. Are well-motivated and understand the risks of the surgery and the restricted eating habits which follow the gastric restrictive or bypass surgery

Adolecents Requirements

For patients between the ages of 13 and 20 the following conditions must be met for bariatric surgery to be medically necessary

  1. BMI of 40 or more with serious comorbidities, such as:
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
    • Obstructive sleep apnea
    • Pseudotumor cerebri
  2. BMI of 50 or more with less severe comorbidities, such as:
    • Hypertension
    • Dyslipidemias
    • Gastroesophageal reflux
  3. Had unsuccessful physician-monitored weight loss attempts for at least 6 months.
  4. Has achieved 95% or more of his/her adult height by determination of bone age.
  5. A psychological assessment to determine decision-making capacity, ability to give informed consent, and willingness to adhere to requirements of postoperative care.

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.

Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield Weight Loss Surgery

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.

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

Following are a list of Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield 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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Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield Weight Loss Surgery

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

Procedures That ARE Covered

Procedures That Are NOT Covered

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

  • Gastric Balloon
  • vBloc Therapy
  • AspireAssist
  • Mini Gastric Bypass Surgery
  • Small bowel bypass procedures as stand-alone procedures
  • Gastric wrapping
  • The Garren-Edwards gastric bubble or any similar device
  • Biliopancreatic bypass without duodenal switch
  • Endoscopic procedures (e.g., insertion of the StomaphyX™ device, insertion of a gastric balloon, endoscopic gastroplasty, or use of an endoscopically placed duodenal-jejeunal sleeve) to treat weight gain after bariatric surgery to remedy large gastric stoma or large gastric pouches, as primary surgical treatment for morbid obesity, or to repair gastric leaks
  • Long-limb gastric bypass (greater than 150cm)
  • Repair of a hiatal hernia that is diagnosed at the time of bariatric surgery, or repair of preoperatively diagnosed hiatal hernia in patients who do not have indications for surgical repair
  • Laparoscopic gastric plication
  • Single anastomosis duodenolileal bypass with sleeve gastrectomy
Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield Weight Loss Surgery

If Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield 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 Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield to learn how to proceed.

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