David Imrie

Lap band surgery is an option for weight loss that many people want to take but don’t follow through on for numerous reasons. The biggest reason they don’t go through with this option is because of how much the surgery costs.


Download our free guide on all the health benefits your employees need and  want.

The price of this medical procedure that could save your life or greatly enhance your life expectancy shouldn’t be the reason why you decide not to do it. Luckily, there are registered health spending accounts (RHSA) that can help with the costs.

What Is Lap Band Surgery?

Lap band surgery is a surgical weight loss option to consider when other weight loss methods haven’t worked out for you. It’s usually done for patients that are obese and have health problems or will have health problems because of their weight.

Lap band surgery is when an adjustable band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. The band restricts the size of the stomach and thus the amount of food it can hold. It helps people eat less, so they lose weight.

There are many negative connotations surrounding this surgery, and because of them, many people won’t seek it out. However, the main reason why people don’t go through with the surgery is because it can cost up to $20,000, depending on the province/territory you’re in.

What Is an RHSA?

A registered health spending account is an alternative workplace benefit plan that’s quite popular with small businesses and entrepreneurs. It can double the benefits employers can provide employees and allows them to avoid the costly premiums associated with traditional benefits.  

With traditional group benefits, the employer pays a premium (and sometimes the employees do too), to gain access to a variety of benefits. With these kinds of benefits, there’s a finite amount of money employees can spend on a particular health category, such as dental or eye care.

However, an RHSA works differently. With an RHSA, employees can spend their benefits money on whatever they need, rather than being capped at a dollar amount per category. For example, with a traditional benefits plan, lap band surgery may not be covered at all. But with an RHSA, employees can spend every health dollar on the surgery if they need to.

An RHSA gives the employer control over the benefits program, but it also gives the individual employees control over what they’re spending their benefits dollars on. This way, benefits money isn’t wasted. Employees can spend the dollars on the expenses they really need to have covered, such as lap band surgery.

Paying for Lap Band Surgery

Many traditional benefits programs either won’t pay for this lap band surgery at all or will only cover a small portion of the bill. This is a problem for many people because the surgery is expensive and the majority of people don’t have that kind of money lying around waiting to be used.

There are other payment options available, like a medical grant or a payment plan with the clinic providing the surgery. However, these options aren’t ideal. You have to qualify for a medical grant, and the payment plan still requires that you pay for the full cost of the surgery.

When you have access to an RHSA, you can offset a good portion of the cost of the surgery by using the funds available to you from your employer. It might not pay for the whole surgery, but it’s a much more cost-effective solution than paying for the entire surgery out of pocket or hoping you qualify for a medical grant.

Lap band surgery is costly, but with an RHSA, that cost is more manageable. Talk to your employer about setting up an RHSA to help you get the health coverage you need.

5 Questions New Employees Should Ask About Their Group Health Benefit Plan

David Imrie

Dr. David Imrie founded RHSA Canada in 2009. Dr. Imrie is a medical doctor and former health insurance professional who has a passion for helping small businesses reduce their healthcare costs. As an executive in the insurance industry, he was shocked to find that so many common healthcare services are covered only partially by most insured plans, when employees were entitled to 100% coverage for all prescription drugs, dental services, and other healthcare expenses. Since leaving the insurance industry in 2001, Dr. Imrie committed to using newer technology to develop a better alternative program for small business health benefits.
Find David Imrie on: