Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Medicare to Pay for Obesity Prevention

Medicare announced Tuesday it will pay for screenings and preventive services to help recipients curb obesity and the medical ailments associated with it, primarily heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

"Obesity is a challenge faced by Americans of all ages, and prevention is crucial for the management and elimination of obesity in our country," Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a news release. "It's important for Medicare patients to enjoy access to appropriate screening and preventive services."

According to the STOP Obesity Alliance, the overall costs of being overweight over a five-year period are $24,395 for an obese woman and $13,230 for an obese man. Thirty-four percent of U.S. adults are obese, according to the alliance, which expects that percentage to rise to 50% by 2030.

"As small of a weight loss as 5% to 7% can lead to a huge health improvement," said Christy Ferguson, director of the STOP Obesity Alliance, which sent recommendations to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in September.

The new Medicare benefits will include face-to-face counseling every week for one month, then one counseling appointment every other week for the following five months for people who screen positive for obesity.

1 comment:

  1. having these medicare benefits could help a lot of people especially those who are less fortunate.