It's been very helpful reading blogs about where folks are in their insurance approval processes, what they've had to do, and what they've done so far. So, that is what I'll talk about in this post, insurance approval. Needless to say, there are a lot of hoops.
I'm very fortunate that our insurance is going to pay 90% of the surgery if I'm approved. Calling the insurance company was my very first step. I wanted to make sure that it would be covered, the deductible, my total out of pocket expenses and that sort of thing before I got too excited and too deep in this planning process. After talking to the representative and looking at other financing options such as Flex Spending, I decided that yes, I could and should move forward.
After deciding that the financing wasn't going to be a big problem, I made an appointment with my personal care physician. He has been so supportive of each and every weight loss endeavor I've tried, helping me any way he could. And this decision is no different. He and his staff have been wonderful making sure I got the right documentation to the right place and getting approval to see a bariatric surgeon. I can't say enough great things about them!
My next step was choosing my surgeon. I did a lot of research online and looked at many different surgeons, their success rate, their testimonials from patients, and so forth. After much research, I decided I would give Atlanta Bariatrics a call. The staff was full of information and never hesitated with any question I had, no matter how trivial. At the end of that phone call, I reserved a spot for the Weight Loss Surgery seminar at Emory John's Creek.
I was very nervous about this meeting. I was going to have to have to go by myself because my daughter had a softball banquet and my husband needed to go with her. I felt bad about missing the banquet, but the seminars only happen once per month. I knew that if I waited, I might very well not ever go. I had to pull the trigger. My daughter was so understanding and agreed that I had to put myself first so that I would still be around for her. She's such a great girl!
As, I mentioned in another post, I've got some great supportive friends! I've told everybody about this surgery. I mentioned to one of my friends at work that I was nervous about going. She was so supportive that day and the next day, I got a text from her saying that she would go with me to the meeting that she had my back. Man am I blessed gal!!!!!! I'll tell all about that meeting in another post.
After the information seminar, I made an appointment to meet with Dr. Johnson and the dietitian. Both of those appointments happened the next week. I really liked Dr. Johnson in the seminar so I decided that meeting with him one on one was my next step to make sure he was a right fit for me. He was just as personable in the appointment as in the meeting. I also met with the office manager and she went over what was expected of me by my insurance policy. Insurance will require 6 months of supervised physician weight loss. During this 6 month supervised plan, I have to either maintain or lose weight for them to approve me. It kind of seems like an oxymoron, but I guess they want to make sure that you can commit to a weight loss plan and stick to it. I'm currently in my 4th month of the supervised plan. I started November 1st with a weight of 287 lbs. The next visit with the surgeon and dietitian I was at 283 lbs. The next month I was up 1 lb to 284 lbs. This past Friday, I weighed 278 lbs. So, I'm down a total of 9 lbs in 3 months and it was the holidays. I'm not overly excited about that, but I'm not devastated either!
I have 4 things left to do besides two more months of supervised weight loss. I need a psychiatric evaluation, I laugh and tell everybody, "that will take a while, I have TONS of couch material.", another visit with the surgeon, some preop work and lastly a support group meeting. If I've got it all figured right, we will apply for approval in late April early May and hopefully I'll have the surgery by June.
So, that's the plan. If it works out in my time table, great. If it doesn't that's fine, too. I believe that when this surgery is meant to happen, it will happen. I've got faith that how it's meant to be, will be. Faith, trust, patience, and His timing are all things I'm learning on the new journey of mine.