Medicare and Obesity: Some Drugs Are Not Covered

According to recent reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 30 percent of the U.S. adult population is obese.

Deborah Kotz from the Boston Globe recently wrote an article describing an even more frightening fact: waistlines are growing larger. She cites that 44 percent of men and 65 percent of women have “abdominal obesity,” or excess fat around the abdomen. This type of fat is the most dangerous because it surrounds the organs and causes serious and often life-threatening diseases.

Medicare Is Not Helping People With Obesity Get the Medicine They Need

With these facts in mind, it is surprising to learn that Medicare is hesitant to cover prescription medication to help people with obesity manage their weight and reduce the risk of serious complications, including:

  • Organ diseases
  • Heart conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • And other health risks.

One year ago, the American Medial Association (AMA) officially recognized obesity as a disease and a disability. Since then, more drug companies have developed medicine that can help mitigate the risks and stop this condition from worsening.

Although welcome news, people on Medicare Part D continue to go without help. That’s because this health plan prohibits the coverage of FDA-approved obesity drugs. Patients needing access to this medication are at a loss.

As Social Security disability lawyers in Boston, we are frustrated by this lack of availability.

Obesity causes disabilities and makes it hard for people to have a normal life. Long-term obesity can lead to increased healthcare costs for these individuals and a decreased income from not being able to work. The overall burden people struggling with obesity must live with is overwhelming. Now, these people must continue to live without the extra help they need to help beat the disabling symptoms and get healthy.

If you’re just as surprised by this failure to offer essential drugs, we encourage you to spread the word by sharing this article on Facebook. The more people know about the lack of coverage, the more likely it is that things will change and obese people will get the care they need.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer
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