Ontario’s OHIP and Bariatric Surgery: What You Need to Know

Does OHIP cover bariatric surgery?

Ontario’s OHIP and Bariatric Surgery: What You Need to Know

In Canada, obesity has steadily risen over the last 20 years, and a permanent weight loss solution is needed now more than ever before. For many patients, the cost and wait times associated with bariatric surgery in Canada can be a deterrent to receiving the lifesaving procedure. Some parts of Canada have a version of socialized healthcare, but figuring out which procedure is covered, where, and by whom can feel like a daunting task.

Ontario residents have a public health plan that, in some cases, may cover bariatric surgery. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is a government-run program that works with province residents to cover the costs of bariatric surgery. Unfortunately, this plan isn’t available to all Ontario residents and not all patients seeking weight loss surgery may be eligible.  

Read on to learn more about if weight loss surgery is covered by OHIP.

Is Bariatric Surgery Covered by OHIP?

If you’re a Canadian citizen in need of a permanent weight loss solution, you may be wondering if bariatric surgery is covered by OHIP.  The answer depends on several factors. Whether or not the government-run health plan covers the cost of the procedure depends on the type of surgery and other patient-specific factors, such as BMI.  

Below are some basic requirements that need to be met to be considered for bariatric surgery in Canada.

Gastric Bypass: This is the preferred bariatric surgery for patients who are on the OHIP plan. To be eligible for this procedure, you must meet the following requirements:

  • A BMI of over 40 or
  • A BMI of over 35 with an existing obesity-related health condition.
  • Can physically and mentally handle the stress of surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, can offer significant benefits in a short amount of time. Of the two procedures OHIP may cover in Canada, gastric bypass surgery has a higher risk of complications and developing side effects. An alternative that historically has better outcomes and, in the right hands, can be done through a single incision is the gastric sleeve.

Gastric Sleeve: This minimally invasive procedure is rarely covered in Canada by OHIP and only if the following criteria are met:

  • A BMI of greater than 60.
  • You have medical conditions that make gastric bypass surgery a more dangerous choice.
  • You have significant abdominal scarring from a prior procedure.

The gastric sleeve procedure is one many patients prefer due to the positive long-term outcomes and the minimal risk of complications and side effects. Unfortunately, OHIP rarely covers this choice due to the high cost of the procedure.

How Long Will I Have to Wait for Bariatric Surgery in Canada?

In Canada, it’s not uncommon for patients to have to wait up to five years before they receive bariatric surgery. That’s five years a patient has to live with obesity and any other associated detrimental health conditions. Canada lacks the number of bariatric surgery specialists, health care centers, and hospitals to accommodate the demand for bariatric surgery, leading to painfully long waitlists. Unfortunately, Canadians don’t have a lot of options in their home country for a permanent solution to their weight problems.

Bariatric surgery is the only proven permanent treatment of severe or morbid obesity. Many patients can’t afford to wait months or even years to have surgery that could save their lives. By waiting, conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other weight-related health concerns will likely worsen in patients with obesity. Patients in Canada do have the option to see a private provider and pay cash for a bariatric procedure, but in most cases, the cost is over $20,000.

Have You Considered Traveling to Mexico for Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery in Mexico has become an increasingly popular location for Canadians who don’t want to wait long for a life-altering procedure. Having to live with health conditions that negatively affect quality of life shouldn’t be a person’s only choice. Fortunately, many Canadians have found that traveling to Mexico for bariatric surgery offers more options for patients and their immediate needs. In Mexico, there’s no waiting list for safe, quality care at a significantly lower cost.

Why ALO Bariatrics?

ALO Bariatrics is the most trusted destination for patients seeking a bariatric surgery solution in Mexico. Our board-certified surgeons work within three of the premier facilities in Tijuana, Puerto Vallarta, and Guadalajara to provide outstanding care for our patients worldwide. We’re easily accessible with direct flights from most major airports in the US and Canada. 

Bundled and affordable pricing means less hassle for you and includes lodging in a luxury resort near the hospital, the hospital visit, medication, pre- and post-procedural care, and even a personal driver during your stay, who will chauffeur you from the airport to the hotel and the hospital. You’ll receive world-class healthcare and service during your time with us, for a fraction of the cost.

Don’t let a government-run healthcare plan dictate what healthcare is right for you. Your health should be a discussion between you and a doctor. It’s never been easier to schedule a consultation with ALO Bariatrics. If you’re considering taking the next step in tackling your weight problem, contact ALO Bariatrics today to discover all of the benefits of bariatric surgery in Mexico.