DOES HEALTH INSURANCE COVER GASTRIC BALLOON?

When a person wants to lose weight, either for health reasons or for aesthetic reasons, the first thing to do is request a consultation with two specialists whose work is related and who will facilitate the patient to reach the previously set goals. Without these two professionals, the process may be left halfway or the desired results may not be obtained in a healthy way. We refer, of course, to the specialties of nutrition and endocrinology , two branches of medicine necessary to carry out treatments related to weight loss in a healthy and monitored way.

Does health insurance cover weight loss treatment?

The coverage or not of a treatment such as the insertion of a gastric balloon in the stomach to help in a weight loss process, depends on the type of insurance company chosen, as well as the type of health insurance chosen, its coverage and its scope. . In this sense, there may be companies that cover it and others that only offer access to specialties such as endocrinology , digestive system specialists or nutritionists in their policy . In addition, to be able to access an intervention without surgery of this type, most of the insurance companies that integrate it, will ask as one of the fundamental requirements, the prescription by a specialist from the medical chart and having passed the waiting period, that is, a minimum number of months from when the insurance was contracted until the time of the intervention. 

Some insurance companies may also offer this possibility in concerted clinics and with special prices for the insured, for example, one of the most recognized insurance companies in Spain, such as Mapfre , in its Health policy, offers access to a series of additional services in advantageous conditions for its insured, although they are not within the guarantees included in the policy. One of them is the intragastric balloon. It is very important to assess everything when hiring your health insurance and inform yourself well beforehand.

It is also important to point out at this point that the gastric balloon is not an intervention that is usually carried out by Social Security and that, if it is carried out, it is because the patient suffers from other associated pathologies and the medical professionals decide so. In no case, these types of interventions are carried out for reasons related to aesthetics.

What is the gastric balloon and how is it placed?

The placement of a gastric or intragastric balloon is a small intervention that does not require surgery or anesthesia and that is based on the insertion, through endoscopy, of a balloon made of medical silicone into the patient’s stomach and which is then filled with liquid. . The goal is to fill between 30 and 40% of the stomach space to keep the patient feeling full and avoid feeling hungry too often. 

This technique, combined with a healthy diet, will normally achieve the previously set weight loss goal as well as improve the subject’s health in every way. Once the objective of having decreased the space in the stomach and changed eating habits has been achieved, the gastric balloon is also removed through endoscopy. 

Obesity is a disease that more and more Spaniards suffer from and, what is more alarming, at younger ages . It is important to bear in mind that the gastric balloon is not recommended for everyone, being a recommended technique for those cases in which the practice of sports and a diet are not enough to lose weight. We refer to cases in which the indices of mass and body fat far exceed the average for a certain age. 

In addition, and according to the experts, it can be a recommended treatment for those who need to lose weight to improve other types of pathologies such as diseases related to the digestive, metabolic or cardiac system.

Benefits of the gastric balloon for weight loss

  • The intervention does not involve undergoing surgery, as it is performed through endoscopy . This means that it is minimally invasive and discharge is usually carried out, in many cases, on the same day. 
  • The side effects are not too serious , the most common being vomiting, nausea and symptoms of this type during the first days after inserting the balloon. Something normal, since the stomach has to get used to this feeling of permanent satiety. Now, the subject will have the need to eat less because the stomach will always be a part of its size full and little by little, it will shrink. That is the moment when the ball is withdrawn. 
  • The eating habits and lifestyle of the patient improve, becoming healthier. 
  • Losing weight supposes an extra dose of motivation and improvement of self-esteem for the patient who, little by little, begins to look more favored without those extra kilos. It is a slow process; in fact, if done quickly, there can be sudden mood swings. There are those who tend to suffer depression after an operation of this type, since the body undergoes a very large change in not too long. Even so, with medical and psychological support, it is worth it. 
  • The patient will be able to carry out activities that they have always wanted to do but that being overweight prevented them. 
  • The eating habits and lifestyle of the patient improve, becoming healthier.
  • Losing weight supposes an extra dose of motivation and improvement of self-esteem for the patient who, little by little, begins to look more favored without those extra kilos. It is a slow process; in fact, if done quickly, there can be sudden mood swings. There are those who tend to suffer depression after an operation of this type, since the body undergoes a very large change in not too long. Even so, with medical and psychological support, it is worth it.
  • The patient will be able to carry out activities that they have always wanted to do but that being overweight prevented them.
  • Losing weight supposes an extra dose of motivation and improvement of self-esteem for the patient who, little by little, begins to look more favored without those extra kilos. It is a slow process; in fact, if done quickly, there can be sudden mood swings. There are those who tend to suffer depression after an operation of this type, since the body undergoes a very large change in not too long. Even so, with medical and psychological support, it is worth it.

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