Medicare has increased the amount of mental health coverage beneficiaries are entitled to. After years of unequal treatment,...Read more
Medicare May Begin Covering Obesity Treatments
- July 22nd, 2004
The Department of Health and Human Services has announced it will remove language from Medicare's coverage manual that states that obesity is not a disease.
While this does not mean the Medicare program now considers obesity to be a disease, it does mean that the program will contemplate paying for therapies to treat obesity, such as stomach surgery, diet programs, and behavioral and psychological counseling. The announcement "opens the door to what is expected to be a flood of applications from individuals, doctors and companies for Medicare to begin paying for therapies," writes The Washington Post.
Currently, 37 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are overweight and 18 percent are obese, according to the American Obesity Association. Between 1991 and 1998, the prevalence of obesity among people between the ages of 60 and 69 rose 45 percent.
Still not all are convinced that Medicare's change in policy is warranted. Paul F. Campos of the University of Colorado, author of a book titled The Obesity Myth, said the decision was irrational, given that being underweight is more of a health problem for the elderly than being overweight.
"It's not just a bad idea -- it's completely unscientific," Campos said. "We're in the grip of a kind of out-of-control cultural hysteria on this issue that leads to really irrational social decisions, such as making obesity a disease among the elderly."
While calling the decision a "partial" improvement, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said, "This is illustrative of the problem we have with Medicare. If you've got a problem, we'll fix you. Medicare should have programs to prevent obesity."
For the full Washington Post article, click here. (Free registration required and article may no longer be available.)
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Jean Galloway Ball is certified in Elder Law by the National Elder Law Foundation. She is a 1977 honors graduate of the National Law Center, George Washington University, and she did her undergraduate work at the University of California at Berkeley, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1971. She is admitted to practice in Vir...
Farr Law Firm
In practice since 1987, Fairfax Attorney Evan Farr is widely recognized as one of the leading Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Specials Needs attorneys in Virginia and one of foremost experts in the Country in the field of Medicaid Asset Protection and related Trusts. Evan Farr has been quoted or cited as an expert by n...
Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Margaret A. O’Reilly is an estate planning and elder law attorney with over thirty-five years of legal experience. Attorney O’Reilly graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. For over 15 y...