Medicare will now pay for screening and preventive services to help beneficiaries control obesity and related medical ailments, such as heart disease, strokes and diabetes. More than 30 percent of the Medicare population is expected to qualify for this benefit based on their body mass index (BMI), according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The new benefits include weekly counseling for one month, then counseling every two weeks for the next five months for people who screen positive for obesity.
Individuals who lose at least 6.6 pounds may continue monthly counseling for six more months. Individuals who do not lose the required weight in the first six months may be reevaluated one-year after their initial screening to check their current BMI and readiness to change. Visit the CMS website for more details.