GREENWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– When it comes to losing weight, you may want to give your insurance company a call. More and more of them are covering weight loss services.
It may be surprising to a lot of people that insurance companies are indeed covering ‘medical’ weight loss programs meaning supervised by a doctor but the coverage depends on the insurance provider.
It all started with the American Medical Association recognizing ‘obesity’ as a disease.
Once a week, Michael Merritt checks in at ‘HALSA md’ a medical weight loss center in Greenwich.
“I’m happy, I’m motivated, I feel good about myself,” said Merritt.
In six months, he has dropped 30 pounds.
“I felt that I was getting out of shape and I just wanted to get back in shape. I was eating the wrong foods,” said Merritt.
“We really focus on the molecular causes, the DNA and the chemical cause of obesity. We focus on the hormonal systems that burn fat first,” said Board certified weight loss clinician, Dr. Steven Murphy.
Patients like Michael have another incentive to coming there. Their insurance companies cover it.
“I may have been discouraged because coming out of pocket, it’s kinda expensive so I had two different insurance companies, United and Aetna and they both paid 100 percent,” said Merritt.
“We are seeing more and more insurance companies recognizing the value of reducing weight in patients and preventing other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes,” said Murphy.
Carmela Donofrio weighed 325 pounds when she had a gastric bypass but gained back 70 of what she shed back then.
“I’m diabetic and my sugars were out of control,” said Donofrio.
After getting treated there, she lost 50.
“I’m healthy and I haven’t been healthy in a long time,” said Donofrio.
Lucky for her…
“I am covered, I have Pomco, which is completely covered. I do pay my co-payments,” said Donofrio.
“I think the biggest barrier is patients having to pay when they may not quite feel sick yet and that’s a very big barrier,” said Murphy.
With two thirds of adults obese or overweight in the US, insurance coverage could be the prescription for losing the weight and prevent disease.
Dr. Murphy says Medicare and most insurance companies cover doctors visits preventative care consultation and some medications.
Be sure to check with your insurance company.