The New U.S. Healthcare is Focusing on Obesity and Counseling

Starting in January 2014, any insurance plan you can buy in your state’s Marketplace includes a free obesity screening test. Your health care provider will use your weight and height to find your body mass index, called your BMI. A BMI of 25 or higher is overweight. A BMI of 30 or more is obese.

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If you get the screening test and your weight is in the obese category (BMI 30 or more), you will qualify for free counseling to lose weight, between 12-26 sessions.

The type of counseling differs depending on the plan. Some people might get one-on-counseling in person or on the phone. Others might get counseling in a group or through existing programs, like Weight Watchers.

Check your plan’s summary of benefits to see the details on what’s offered.

Whether healthcare plans will cover weight loss treatment, medications, surgery, etc.  depends on the state. Each state has to cover certain essential benefits, but they get to decide what’s included in them. Some states include obesity treatments in their essential benefits. Some don’t.  You may have to have a BMI of 40 or higher to qualify. Or you may be able to qualify if you have a related condition — like diabetes– and a BMI of 35 or above.

Check with your state coverage:  http://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/state-marketplace-map

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