This news has been lost in the Medicare Open Enrollment shuffle, but considering it’s estimated a third of Medicare recipients are obese, the news is big (pardon the pun!). Starting immediately, Medicare will cover obesity screening and behavioral therapy as part of its portfolio of preventive services.
What this means is that Medicare will pay for seniors to see their doctors for regular weight-loss counseling and it’s hoped that the move will encourage private health insurers to do the same. Obese Medicare beneficiaries (BMI 30 or higher) will be able to see their primary care physician for one face-to-face visit for weight-loss counseling every week for the first month. After that, 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 another six months of once-a-month face-to-face visits with the doctor.
The benefit is available immediately without copayments. That’s right, there are no out-of-pocket costs to you for taking advantage of the new Medicare obesity screening benefit, and you can start as soon as your next appointment.
Will you be taking advanatage of the new Medicare obesity screening benefit? Tell us about it!
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