Medicare Now Provides Coverage for Obesity Treatment and Prevention

December 3, 2011
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Posted in CMSKnowledge & MedicinePolitics & The LawScience & Research

Posted in CMSKnowledge & MedicinePolitics & The LawScience & Research

Medicare will now expand its breadth of covered preventive services to include obesity treatment and management. In what could be a sign of the increasing population of beneficiaries who were weaned in the Boomer mentality, treatment coverage for such a hot-button topic among politicians, lobbyists, healthcare advocates, and physicians themselves — will remain, indeed, controversial. According to CMS, obese Medicare beneficiaries (defined as those with a body mass index of 30 or higher) may see their primary care physician for one face-to-face visit every week for the first month. Then, Medicare will pay for one face-to-face visit every other week for the next five months. If the patient loses at least 3 kg (6.6 lbs.) over the first six months, Medicare will pay for an additional six months of once-a-month face-to-face visits with the doctor.

Insurance remains above the fray here. While the feds may explain away this coverage as putting a dent in future healthcare costs associated with the obese patient, the fact remains, that outside of a universally defined pragmatic treatment regimen (ie, dedicated drugs = dedicated reimbursements/payments) — provider acceptance of this latest move by CMS will continue to advance at trickle. It’s hard to get on board with yet another taxpayer funded government initiative whose intentions really haven’t been proven to lower across-the-board healthcare costs, lower all-cause mortality, and assume that all physicians are competent weight-loss counselors. Also: about 30 percent of beneficiaries are projected to qualify for this latest Medicare preventive care benefit. | LINK

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