David Imrie

If you’re considering lap band surgery, cost is likely your biggest concern. Considering one in five Canadians have a body mass index that indicates obesity, more and more people are turning to weight loss surgery to help get their health back on track. Because obesity comes with a number of serious health complications, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart attacks, figuring out how to finance your lap band surgery should be at the top of your priority list.


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If you’re wondering how you can pay for lap band surgery, there are a number of options for you to consider, each with their own pros and cons.

How much does it cost?

The cost of lap band surgery ranges depending on a number of different factors such as location, your surgical team, and any pre-op or post-op measures your doctor puts into place. On average, before any insurance coverage or discounts, surgery costs $15,000; however, it can range from $4,000 to $33,000 depending on the previously stated variables.


For many, this number is simply unfeasible, especially if the entire procedure is being paid for out of pocket. Thankfully, if you meet the requirements for weight loss surgery, there are a number of different financing options for you to consider.

Do I qualify?

In Canada, not just anyone qualifies for weight loss surgery unless they’re willing to pay for the entire procedure out of pocket. In order to be considered a legitimate candidate for surgery and funding, you must meet specific criteria. For starters, your BMI must be a minimum of 30+; otherwise, you must have at least one obesity-related health problem. A BMI of 30.0 to 34.9 is considered “obese,” while 50 or higher is considered “super obese”—this should help give you an idea of where you fall on the spectrum.


On top of your BMI, you must have written approval from a general practitioner stating you’re in need of weight loss surgery. Once you have written approval, you can begin contacting insurance companies, searching for grants, or looking for surgery discounts that apply to you.

How can I pay?

Now that you know how much surgery costs and how you can qualify, it’s time to determine how you plan to pay for your procedure. The good news is there are a number of different options available to you:

Out of pocket
If you plan on paying for your surgery entirely out of pocket, the cost is going to be $15,000 on average. This doesn’t include and pre-op or post-op expenses.

Traditional insurance plans
If your current employer provides you with health coverage, you may be eligible for funding; however, it’s never clear what you should expect. Because lap band surgery is often considered cosmetic, if you haven’t had the surgery deemed medically necessary by your doctor, your insurance likely won’t cover the costs.


Government assistance
For those looking for government assistance, there are a number of weight loss grants or discounts you might qualify for. On top of these grants, there are a number of payment plans in place that can help candidates pay for the surgery over a number of months, helping defer any up-front costs.


If none of these options work, there’s another solution that has you covered. A registered health spending account is a health insurance plan that provides Canadian employers with a way of offering their employees competitive benefits they can control. Employees are free to use their spending on any CRA-approved medical expenses. The good news? Lap band surgery is CRA approved. On top of this coverage, you’re always free to combine the coverage provided with traditional health insurance, so other associated costs are covered.


Talk to your employer about how to get started and book your lap band surgery consultation today!


All The Health Benefits Your Employees Need and Want

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.
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