Medical weight loss is one of the most effective programs that help patients lose weight and keep it off. But what are the medical weight loss costs that you need to budget for—and can you afford it?
The true cost of medical weight loss will vary by program, but we’re breaking down the specifics to remove some of the sticker shock:
Medical weight loss program costs can vary depending on several factors, including the length of the program, what the program entails (e.g. number of doctor visits, food, prescriptions, etc.), and follow up visits after the program ends.
Most medical weight loss programs require an initial assessment, which can range between $99 and $300. The doctor will create a plan for you, which may include weekly check-ins, a diet plan, supplements or medications, and other elements.
For example, Ohio State University’s Living Well program spans six months and costs about $855. They also offer additional programs after the six-month program to help you maintain your weight loss for a fee. Integrative Wellness Atlanta offers a program that costs about $159 per month plus a consultation fee. Columbia University in New York offers a 12-week weight control program priced at $480 ($40 per session).
Keep in mind there will be non-program-related costs, too. Once you start shedding pounds, you may have to buy new clothes that fit. In some cases, you may have to purchase special food associated with the program rather than shopping at your local grocery store. You’ll also need to budget for supplements and medications that may not be included in the program cost.
Don’t let the word “medical” scare you off from exploring a tailored weight loss program. In many cases, a medical weight loss program will cost less than some of the mainstream diet programs AND give you better results. Check to see what’s available in your area to find a program that suits your budget.
In some cases, your medical weight loss costs will be covered by insurance, at least in part. The Affordable Care Act mandated that insurance cover obesity screening and counseling. If you have weight-related health issues, your insurance may also pick up the bill for treatment programs.
It’s not a guarantee, as plans will vary by individual, but it’s worth looking into to see if you can reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
Medical weight loss might sound expensive, but consider the long-term effects of your investment. Whether you lose 15 pounds or 50 pounds, weight loss can help you to reduce medical expenses and food costs that will make up for whatever you spend on a weight loss program.
Excess weight and poor diet contribute to many health issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other diseases that will require expensive doctor bills and medications. By losing the weight before these issues arise, you’re saving yourself some serious money in the long-run, not to mention taking back control of your health.
Ideally, you won’t wait to lose the weight until you’re forced to because of your health. Committing to a program now can actually be cheaper in the long-term and give you more time to enjoy a better quality of life.