Impact of New Healthcare Law on California Weight Loss Surgery Coverage Remains Murky, notes Dr. Michael Feiz

Seriously interested weight loss patients who are now insured for bariatric procedures may wish to get started soon

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Whatever your opinion regarding the package of new healthcare policies referred to as Obamacare, there is a great deal of uncertainty around the precise impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on some patients. For Dr. Feiz & Associates and others specifically concerned with coverage for weight loss surgery in California, clear information on whether the new law will decrease, increase, or have no impact on the availability of coverage is, for the moment, difficult to obtain.

As a widely respected board certified bariatric surgeon who has helped countless severely obese people achieve long-term weight loss success with such procedures as sleeve gastrectomy surgery, Michael Feiz, M.D., F.A.C.S., is concerned. The possible impact on prospective patients who may or may not be covered for weight loss procedures in 2014 is very difficult to determine, so some patients could potentially be penalized for delaying treatment.

"People obviously have very strong opinions about the new law, but our primary concern as healthcare providers is that, right at the moment, we don't really know if as many insurance companies as before will be covering procedures under the ACA," said Dr. Feiz. "Our advice is that, if you're currently covered for weight loss surgery by your insurer, and you're serious about getting it, then you should get started immediately by contacting us. That way, whatever does or does not happen in 2014, your procedure will likely be covered. We care very much about what happens to weight loss patients, and we don't want people choosing not to have a needed, potentially lifesaving surgery just because of financial concerns."

There is reason for uncertainty around the new law. While some form of obesity treatment will be mandated in California and three other states, as well as the District of Columbia, whether or not that will typically include bariatric procedures is unclear. Coverage may include traditional weight loss oriented diet and exercise programs, but might not include weight loss surgery, by far the most effective means of permanently combatting obesity currently available. It appears that weight loss surgery coverage may be completely uncovered by insurance providers in several U.S. states where obesity rates are highest.

Of course, aside from the question of coverage, an important consideration for people who are seriously interested in weight loss surgery is ensuring that this challenging procedure is being performed by the most skilled physician available. Dr. Feiz is a highly experienced, board certified surgeon and one of the most respected bariatric procedures in the nation. A pioneer in the use of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for bariatric procedures, Dr. Feiz has been at the forefront of providing extremely safe weight loss surgeries with superior outcomes.

Dr. Feiz has also been a leader in terms of the ongoing interest in the ghrelin hormone. Ghrelin is a substance associated with feelings of hunger that often continue long after we've consumed enough calories. The gastric sleeve procedure removes the portion of the stomach that appears to be primarily responsible for production of the hormone.

To contact one of the nation's leading experts on bariatric surgery, please visit or call Dr. Feiz & Associates at 800-868-5946.

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SOURCE Dr. Feiz & Associates

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