Obesity has become a growing problem inside of the United States. More and more people are now clinically considered overweight, if not obese, which in turn is costing the economy and United States government hundreds of millions of dollars to care for it. Obesity is one of the top killers anywhere, as it directly causes the development of diabetes, heart conditions and other medical problems, all of which can be easily avoided by simple exercise and a proper diet. Despite this though, in order to combat the problem with obesity, Obamacare is now requiring most health insurance companies to tackle obesity, as pointed out by Nanci Hellmich of USA Today in her article “Obamacare Requires Most Insurers to Tackle Obesity.”
As Nanci Hellmich points out, many people struggle with obesity and simply are not able to shed the pounds. Due to this, insurance companies are offering to help with this situation as they know that not treating this sort of a condition can end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars more, per person, should they develop more serious health conditions due to the weight issue. These insurance companies have long offered weight loss and wellness programs at local community centers and schools. Some insurance companies as well, depending on the coverage, has provided medication to help reduce weight or help pay for gastric bypass surgeries. Before the Affordable Care Act went into place, insurance companies decided on their own whether or not they would provide assistance for overweight and obese individuals. Now however, insurance companies are required to help obese individuals lose weight. The method of assistance though does vary, depending on the specific plan.
According to a health insurance agent in Nutley NJ, for all insurance coverage plans, screen and counseling is covered without any sort of cost to the patient. While Medicare has covered this sort of a service for years, traditional health insurance has never been required to do so. While there are some grandfathered plans that do not cover obesity screening and treatment, but this is only the case if a patient has not changed their coverage since 2010.
During an obesity screening, the health service measures the individual’s BMI. This is designed to determine their body mass index, and should the health service provider determine the individual is obese (obese is the keyword, as someone that is just overweight does not qualify for some of these services), than the health care provider can offer additional weight-loss assistance. Some plans are going to simply provide telephone counseling, although this is really just part of a base plan as it does not do all that much in assisting the person. However, other plans provide visits to a health coach and group sessions with a lifestyle coach. Weight Watchers is a popular selection as a health coach as it helps individuals come together and lose weight
Ultimately though, it really comes down to the specific form of insurance and what the insurance provider wants to cover. For anyone looking for their own insurance or for additions to what their company provides, they need to go out and seek specific insurance services that do cover obesity and other weight related issues.