Medicare to pay for obesity prevention

Diane Alter – AHN News Reporter

Washington, D.C, United States (AHN) – Medicare announced Tuesday that it will pay for screening and preventive services to help recipients prevent obesity and the medical ills associated with it, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

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

Thirty-four percent of U.S. adults are obese. That number is expected to rise to 50 percent by 2030. According to 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 woman.

The new Medicare benefit 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.

Even a small weight loss can lead to huge health improvements, health experts say. Read More