Six Steps to Fast-Track Insurance Approval for Bariatric Surgery
Author: Frezza, Eldo
Source: Obesity Surgery, Volume 16, Number 5, May 2006 , pp. 659-663(5)
Abstract:Most of the health-insurers approve bariatric surgery for patients according to the NIH standards, while others only approve the surgery if the patient has a BMI >50. Therefore, it is important for the physician to know and carefully follow the various criteria of different insurance companies. We suggest 6 steps to fast-track insurance approval: 1) a multidisciplinary team; 2) 6-month diet; 3) comprehensive medical evaluation; 4) flexibility and consistency; 5) analysis of each patient indication; 6) quality of cost-effectiveness and long-term monitoring and benefits. In the event that an insurance company rejects the request for surgery, a blueprint of an appeal letter is very important. The appeal letter should stress the indications and benefits of surgery for your patients. Insurance company criteria may differ from the NIH guidelines. Irrespective of this, the steps outlined will help speed the insurance approval process and reduce paperwork and confusion. Most often, rejections stem from letters that were not written clearly or that lacked one or more of the elements delineated above. If the surgeon follows the 6 steps described, he/she should meet less disappointment, as in our experience that went from 50% to 90% success because of better communication with insurance and more appropriate paperwork.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2006-05-01