Gastric Bypass

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida has announced it will stop covering gastric bypass surgery by the end of the year.

The Jacksonville-based company says safety is the main reason it will drop the $30,000 surgery, which is also known as stomach stapling. It is considered a last resort for morbidly obese people trying to lose weight.

A hospital official says about three in every one-thousand patients die and up to 20 percent of patients return to the hospital for a second procedure.

The official says there has also been a spike in demand for the surgery. It would have cost the insurer about $200 million over the next few years and could have lead to higher premiums.

The surgery's popularity has grown because of the success that
celebrities, such as television weatherman Al Roker and singer Carnie Wilson, have had with it.

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