When you’re contemplating gastric sleeve surgery, cost is certainly top of mind. And while the amount you’ll spend is usually the focus, did you know there are a long list of ways you may save money after the procedure? Some of those savings are no-brainers (bye-bye unhealthy snack food), but other items may be surprising (tax benefits?). Read on for several pocketbook boosters that may have you celebrating all the way to the bank.
As your weight gets closer to a healthy range, the amount of prescription medications you take will likely plummet or even be eliminated altogether. You’ll make fewer trips to the pharmacy for high blood pressure pills, diabetic supplies, reflux medications, and other illness-related necessities as your blood pressure and cholesterol drop to within normal ranges and your blood sugar stabilizes. Even if you have insurance, co-pays for multiple prescriptions—not to mention frequent physician visits to monitor the conditions—can take up far too much of your pre-op budget.
Disclaimer: Everyone’s financial situation is different, and a consult with a tax professional is a must. Having said that, writing off your gastric sleeve surgery cost is pretty standard. I even give my patients a form for their tax preparer and/or the IRS to make it easier for them. And yes, even though you’re having bariatric surgery in Mexico, you can still claim it as a deduction on your U.S. taxes. Depending on how much you earn, you might not be eligible for a refund based on your VSG surgery expenses, but it can go a long way toward lowering your overall tax bill that year. P.S. – You can usually write off travel expenses like gasoline, plan fare, and parking costs, too!
Honestly, this one could go either way. Some post-op patients are so thrilled with their new bodies that they spend a lot of money on new clothes. But as anyone who’s had to buy extended sizes knows, fat clothes aren’t cheap—especially if you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a sack. As my patient, Stephanie, reports after buying $12 jeans for the first time, “Who knew jeans can be cheap?! Not this girl, who was stuck buying from the same 3 stores where jeans run from $80-$150.” Sleeve veteran Chinua agrees, saying he bought two pairs of smaller jeans for a total of $26. “Before, it would’ve cost me at least $120,” he says. The thrill of buying smaller sizes for a lot less cash? Now that’s a win!
I always advise my patients that meal prep is one of the keys to success with weight loss. Eating foods made at home, even if you’re eating on the go, puts you in better control of what goes into your body. The reality, of course, is that life happens. Eating out is not only a pleasure, but it can be a lifesaver on busy nights. After vertical sleeve gastrectomy, though, you simply won’t be able to pack away those huge restaurant meals. That’s good for your waistline, but it’s also good for your wallet. Many of my patients report that they’ve switched to ordering just an appetizer, picking something off the kids’ menu, or even sharing a main dish with their dining companion. All of those options save quite a bit of money over the pricy entrées and multiple courses that you might have been able to eat before surgery.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.