Consider Paying for Surgery with Health Savings Accounts or 401(k)

If you are considering bariatric weight loss surgery, paying for the procedure and follow up care can be a challenge. Health insurance coverage for bariatric procedures has become more accessible in recent years, but some plans still do not cover the surgery, or if they do, they have restrictions to the coverage. 


My Bariatric Solutions is here to help. We want to provide you with all the information we can about the options available to help offset the cost of your bariatric surgery. We believe the more information you have, the more informed decisions you can make as you consider taking this life-changing step.


Many of you will be familiar with the various healthcare saving accounts that allow you to set aside pre-tax income to help pay for qualifying medical expenses. We have listed a few below with some basic information about each. 


Flexible Spending Account (FSA) also known as Flexible Spending Arrangement 

  • FSAs are employer-created plans 
  • The money is not taxed 
  • There are maximum contribution limits 
  • Can be used to pay for qualifying medical expenses 


Health Savings Account (HSA

  • HSAs are individual-created plans 
  • Must have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to qualify for an HSA 
  • The money is not taxed 
  • There are maximum contribution limits 
  • Can be used to pay for qualifying medical expenses 


Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) 

  • HRAs are employer-created plans 
  • Only funded by the employer 
  • Reimbursements may be tax free 
  • No maximum contribution limits 
  • The self-employed are not eligible 

Using these plans will help offset the cost of your bariatric surgery. In addition, they help to save you even more because of the pre-tax benefits. Make sure to refer to the specifics of your plan for complete information.


Another choice that you may not be aware of is paying your bariatric surgery cost with funds from your 401(k). By applying for a Medical Hardship Withdrawal or Loan, you may be able to pay for the procedure using some of your 401(k) savings. However, check with your plan administrator to see if your plan allows for withdrawals because plans differ from employer to employer. Loans must be paid back, but withdrawals do not. You might also be subject to paying a penalty or taxes. In addition, if you have a Roth IRA, you may be able to withdraw funds without paying taxes or penalties. Again, refer to your specific plan to see what they allow.  


While the 401(k) option may not be for everyone, we believe if you consider the health risks and quality-of-life issues that may be a concern, it is something worth serious consideration to see if it’s right for you.


Also, do not forget the IRS lets you claim medical expenses on your income taxes if they are over a certain percentage of your income. Also, you may be able to deduct part of the cost of the procedure from your taxes, which is another great way to help with the costs. 


We know that bariatric surgery can be costly, but with the right information and tools, cost need not stand in the way of your goals. In fact, according to a recent study, bariatric surgery pays for itself in about two years. The procedure helps address many of the underlying health issues associated with obesity and may improve or resolve many of them. That leads to savings on prescription drugs and doctor visits. 


My Bariatric Solutions is committed to educating and supporting you both before and after surgery. Whether it is to answer questions about our services and procedures, help with insurance approvals, or learn about financing options, we are here to help you every step of the way. You are not in this alone. We understand that for many this is a life-saving surgery, and we are deeply committed to help you get the care that you need and deserve.