Experts Identify Insurance Problems As a Factor for Unsuccessful Weight Loss

Dr. Amarendra's picture

We have heard of countless methods for weight loss, from the traditional ones (exercise, diet, lifestyle change) to the not so conventional ones (hydration therapy, botanical slimming, use of appetite mitigating agents, etc.). Despite the growing number of these weight-loss methods, obesity rates have still doubled and adults whose weights are tipping off the scale are still exceeding the 25% mark. The statistics are plain and simple; there is definitely a loophole in how we manage our weight.

What’s Seems to Be Wrong?

fast food cause obesityDespite all efforts to take control of the obesity epidemic, why is the number of people suffering from obesity still increasing? If we ask weight-loss experts why the number is increasing, they will tell us it is due to a myriad of factors, and each case is different. According to a 2006 case study, one reason why weight-loss has not been so successful is because people are looking for quick fixes and fail to look at the real cause of their obesity. They often undergo weight-loss programs, but without addressing the real cause of their obesity, the weight just comes back. Another compounding, yet significant factor, is insurance and healthcare policy. We may not notice it as a part of the problem, but it has a great impact on one’s health and well-being.

The Price of Obesity

An individual who is considered obese needs necessary medical attention. By medical attention, we mean consultations, medications, enrollment in weight-loss programs and the like. In a society that revolves around monetary values, this medical attention does not come for free. Obesity has a price, and obese individuals pay over $395 per year for medical care. There is also an increase of 36% in the cost of healthcare services and 77% for medications for obese individuals, compared to non-obese individuals. The cost of healthcare for obese people is 30-50% higher than to those who have health problems related to smoking or drinking. Often times the cost is shouldered by the patients themselves. This is what we call “out of the pocket”  payment. There is a big problem when patients have to pay straight from their wallets, if they don’t have a financial source (due to employment problems or economic restraints) how can they pay the cost of medical care?

Insurance and Health Care Policy: How They Can Affect One’s Health?

We might not often see it as one, but when it comes to effective weight-loss management, insurance and health care policies play a major role. The two are driving forces that can make weight-loss programs successful and sustainable. How? If a person has an insurance premium that covers healthcare services and weight-loss medications, there is an increased chance the weight can be managed successfully and that it can be maintained.

If the cost of weight-loss programs comes straight from the patient’s pockets, availability is an issue. If finances are not available for healthcare services and medications, how can the overall health of the individual be maintained? This can lead in what we call “yo-yoing” weight, where people undergo a cycle of gaining and losing weight. This is not healthy.

When insurance policies or healthcare policies cover management for weight loss, patients can opt for weight-loss surgeries (still dependent on the patient’s case and physician’s judgment). Some cases of obesity do warrant a more serious intervention. If insurance companies (such as Aviva life insurance) would cover such surgeries, then we could see a possible decline in the number of obese individuals. Sadly, reality is not reflective of this.

There are a lot of insurance issues when it comes to weight-loss management, which is quite discouraging. Insurance plans often exclude weight-loss surgeries from their coverage. If they do include it, the immense paperwork and the length of time before the procedure gets approved often compounds the health problems already in existence.

Guest Author Bio: Dr. Amarendra is fitness enthusiast and he researches for new weight loss trends, news and keeps himself updated daily.

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