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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Obesity treatment in Texas

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: Do you help people in Texas find affordable insurance that they can qualify for? I need bariatric surgery I prefer the lap band if that is possible no insurance company I have contacted will take me except a medical discount programs and they are turning out to be a joke.

A: The real issue is not finding insurance that allows admission with obesity, but rather finding one that covers pre-existing medical conditions. Several of the plans at offer coverage to obese applicants, but none would cover the planned procedure for the pre-existing medical condition. Texas has an excellent program to ensure that everyone is accepted by a regular commercial health plan that covers pre-existing medical conditions but this is not considered "affordable" by many applicants. Details are listed on the Texas page of and it is necessary to apply through the state following the instructions provided on that Web page. You may also wish to review the article title "Finding Health Insurance to Cover Pre-existing Medical Conditions" also posted at It is important to be aware that if you do not currently have health insurance the Texas state-assisted health insurance plan now requires a waiting period before benefits are payable. In this case, the most cost-effective approach is to enroll in a less expensive medical insurance plan now (that does not cover the pre-existing condition) and then an employer provided group insurance or the state-assisted plan for individuals (that does cover the pre-existing medical condition) after you have been covered for the length of the waiting period. This way the waiting period can be avoided on the more expensive plan because it has been satisfied under a low cost policy - even if that preceding policy that did not cover the pre-existing medical condition. If affording the permanent comprehensive insurance coverage is the primary issue, the unfortunate reality is that you must exhaust your income and spend down your assets on this expensive health care option until you are classified as impoverished and thereby become eligible for free health care under the state's Medicaid program. The discount plans are worthless in your situation as you noted.


More resources:

Texas Benefit Plans