Posts Tagged - ‘obese’

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Should Health Insurance Plans Cover Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Image: EmerandSam under CC 3.0

Obesity is a condition that impacts the health of millions of Americans. There are several options in dealing with it: diet and exercise is the most obvious. An increasing number of health insurers are encouraging the former through wellness programs.

However, success rates are relatively low. Some are proposing gastric bypass surgery as a solution. Some health insurance plans cover the $30,000 surgical procedure for the morbidly obese, but others believe that the investment in preventative care. Obese teenagers, especially, are increasingly taking advantage of it.

By no means is surgery a panacea: some people manage to regain all their weight (though fewer than the 95% who do so with diet and exercise), and up to a third of patients have medical complications. Still, in most cases gastric bypass seems to cure type 2 diabetes (which is expensive to treat for many years). The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder, himself a gastric bypass patient, speculates that paying for the procedure for all obese Americans would end up costing less than the medical complications associated with obesity. However, it is an extreme option of last-resort, and is an over $30 billion-worth pipe dream.

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Obese Mothers-To-Be Cost Hospitals More

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Image: -mrsraggle- under CC 3.0

The obesity epidemic has resorted in an increasing number of pregnant women who are already overweight prior to becoming pregnant. Although losing weight prior to conceiving is ideal, that is not always possible. Unfortunately, both the baby and mother can experience serious complications, which her health insurance plan must pay for.

As a result, hospitals must spend far more money on delivery for obese mothers. Caring for a premature birth–which is more likely in seriously obese women–helps drive the cost up to $200,000 for that high-risk birth. By contrast, a normal delivery costs about $13,000. The increased expense of labor and specialized supplies is passed on through higher health insurance rates for all women.

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Health Insurance To Fight Childhood Obesity?

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Image: USDAgov under CC 3.0

The House of Representatives recently released a list of over 70 recommendations intended to reduce the childhood obesity epidemic, upon First Lady Michelle Obama’s request.

One of their recommendations is that family health insurance plans cover the prevention and treatment of obesity in children. Reducing the percentage of overweight and obese children is predicted to save our health care system up to $150 billion annually.

Services these health insurance providers could offer include visits to a nutritionist (with no or nominal co-payment), counseling, and tips on exercise and other forms of healthy living.

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