Medicare to Provide Coverage for Obesity Counseling

As per announcement made by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Medicare Insurance beneficiaries will be provided with coverage for precautionary obesity counseling.  CMS is doing this as part of its goal to broaden the range of preventive services it has been adding to its coverage since the commencement of the Affordable Care Act.

About one third of Medicare beneficiaries are considered to be obese. Obesity may lead to coronary heart diseases, diabetes, gallbladder disease, blood pressure and some other conditions and diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention holds that the medical care costs of obesity in America in 2008 were approximately $147 billion. The CMS is of the view that if obesity-related disproportion can be addressed in advance, it may be possible to considerably reduce the obesity rates. This will also greatly help in removing the wide health disparities that exist among Medicare beneficiaries.

This new benefit covers eligible patients who receive obesity screening and counseling at primary care centers. If the screening results indicate the patient to be obese, i.e. having body mass index of at least 30, then a four weekly counseling sessions (one per week and) a face-to-face counseling session every fortnight for a further five months is covered. If the patient is able to considerably reduce enough weight, they will have the privilege of being covered for an additional once-monthly counseling sessions for six months.

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