Obesity is a serious problem. In the United States, the number of people who are suffering from obesity has grown to astronomical proportions; in fact, there are so many obese men, women, and children living in the US that it has been named an epidemic.
Obesity is defined as medical condition. Those who are diagnosed with obesity carry an excessive amount of body weight, or body fat, to the point that it could adversely affect their overall health and well-being. Body mass index (BMI) is the tool that is used to determine whether or not an individual is an appropriate, healthy weight for their age, gender, and height. If a person has a BMI between 25 and 29.9, they are considered overweight; a BMI of 30 or higher indicates that a person is obese.
There are a number of complications that can arise as a result of obesity. These complications can include an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- High LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol)
- Coronary artery disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea
- Certain types of cancer, such as breast, kidney, liver, gallbladder, colon, and endometrial
In addition to these conditions, other complications that have been linked to obesity include reduced mobility, difficulty breathing, aches and pains, and mental illnesses, such as anxiety depression. In other words, obesity can significantly decrease a person’s quality of life and increase the mortality rate (shorten their life expectancy).
Recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that more than 36.5% of the adult population of the US is obese, or 91 million American adults. Children are also affected by obesity, with nearly 20% of US children between the ages of six and 11 having a higher than normal body mass index for their age, gender, and height; and the number of obese children in the United States continues to grow.
Treatment for Obesity
There are a number of treatment options available for obesity. Weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass, is an option. While this type of surgical procedure can be effective, it is risky, as it is highly invasive. Furthermore, not every obese patient will qualify for gastric bypass and other surgical weight loss treatments. An individual must meet certain qualifications in order to be considered a candidate for this type of surgery; they must be in good general health, for example. Usually, individuals usually have to attempt other types of weight loss, without success. Once they’ve exhausted other treatment options, surgery may be an option.
Another less invasive way to overcome obesity is through diet and exercise. Becoming a health weight with diet and exercise requires a serious commitment and major life changes; however, it can be done. To aid in effectiveness, many people seek the support of weight loss programs. These programs provide the support that individuals need to achieve their goal of reaching – and maintaining – a healthy weight. Support includes guidance and support for diet and exercise plans.
Are Weight Loss Programs Covered by Health Insurance?
Like most questions related to health insurance, the answer is: it depends. There are several variables that will determine whether or not your health insurance plan will cover the cost of weight loss treatment, including:
- The type of plan you carry
- The extent to which obesity has affected your health and well-being (if you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic, potentially life-threatening disease as a result of your weight, for example).
- Whether or not you have tried to lose weight and were unsuccessful with your attempts
If your doctor has recommended weight loss treatment, no matter what type, your health insurance may cover some or all of the cost. To find out whether or not your health insurance company does provide coverage, speak to a representative. Make sure you ask pertinent questions and share the specific details that are pertinent to your case. Ask for any details that you receive in writing so that you have a hard copy that you can refer to.
If you have found that your health insurance does, in fact, provide coverage for weight loss treatments, speak to your medical professionals. You may have to see an in-network provider, so it’s important to find out whether or not your insurance is accepted by the individuals and/or facilities that you will be working with.
The Bottom Line
Weight loss treatments may be covered by your health insurance plan. To find out, speak with your carrier to find out the specifics of your plan. If your policy does not offer coverage or if you don’t have health insurance, speak to a reputable insurance agent. This individual will be able to help you find options that will meet your needs.