Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weight Loss Treatments Leave Insured Patients With Fat Bills

Melissa Moss, after trying unsuccessfully to lose weight by dieting, eventually managed to take off 45 pounds. The key was enrolling in a program that provided behavioral and nutrition counseling, a physician-supervised low-calorie liquid diet and group therapy.
But The Washington Post reported that Moss, 24, an accountant in Washington, D.C., who earns $15 an hour, was left with more than $4,000 in credit card debt that she ran up paying for the program, which her insurer refused to cover.
“Insurance companies say they want you to be healthy, but they won’t pay for treatment,” said Moss, who was urged by her doctor to lose weight. “It’s frustrating that they want you to be as sick and disabled as possible before they will help.”
That problem, the Post said, is common to millions of Americans battling fat whose insurers refuse to pay for obesity treatments but cover the expensive health consequences of the extra weight.
With obesity on the rise — two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese — a few insurers have begun in recent years to pay for some weight loss options.  A spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade association, said that the practice was not yet widespread because data about what works have “only emerged in the last few years. Obesity is definitely an evolving area.”
In fact, a team of George Washington University researchers reported in a recent study that many states allow insurers to charge obese patients higher premiums or deny coverage of the condition.  Meanwhile, they also found that only eight state Medicaid programs cover all of the following treatments:  assessment and counseling, drug therapy and surgery to combat obesity.
Some changes may be coming soon, however. Provisions in the new health care overhaul law that take effect Thursday will require insurers to cover obesity screening and behavioral counseling by physicians. Key details, however, remain to be worked out.

38 comments:

  1. That's really unfair. Thanks for brining this to the public's eye.

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  2. Running is and always will be free :)
    same with pushups and situps

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  3. "Weight Loss Treatments" just the sound of that is wrooong. Why so fat ppl :(

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  4. I agree with Bernard, running is free and it's good for you.

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  5. I think loosing weight isn't bad regardless of how you do it. But if these people choose the easy way of course it should cost a pretty penny. Like stated above, running doesn't cost anything!

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  6. fat people get skinny to end up paying fat bills xD isnt there a slimfast for the bills too? XD

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  7. Keep up the good work! If you like bubbles, check out my other blog, Enhanced by MS Paint!

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  8. inspiring, thank you for some fuel to my f'ire'.

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  9. people shouldn't depend on surgery to get in shape. they should do it like everyone else. it's free too

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  10. tough call on this one, without the weight they are less likely to burden other customers with illness thats my take

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  11. Fat bills? Like duck bills? lol jk

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  12. Eww that liquid diet is not going to be fun xD

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  13. What she sais is pretty true about all insurance companies. They don't want to pay for anything and will pretty much say or do anything to not pay.

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  14. this definitely isn't my area of expertise lol

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  15. that sucks. i hope things work out for these people.

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  16. That's messed up....be healthy lower your premium, But be healthy on your own....

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  17. Great post! love to read this stuff, really

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  18. wow, very interesting. keep it up.

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  19. typical.....healthcare industry taking advantage of it's patients.

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  20. I just think it's preatty silly that they will pay for all of the consequences of being fat, but will not pay for a treatment for the couse... it could save them a pretty penny...

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  21. always beware, especially with weight loss schemes

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  22. nice job bringing this to light, it really should be covered

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  23. cant wait to see your next post!

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