Delaware Medicaid Program to Cover Obesity Treatment Visits in 2019
January 2018 ~
In hopes of improving health outcomes for its residents, Delaware’s Medicaid program will soon cover treatment visits for people struggling with obesity.
The Delaware Health and Social Services’ (DHSS) Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance is now one of nine founding members of the national initiative targeted to fight obesity, My Healthy Weight. Developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Bipartisan Policy Center, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, My Healthy Weight is the first-ever collective initiative offering obesity prevention and treatment for individuals of all ages.
It is estimated that approximately two-thirds of adult residents in Delaware are at an unhealthy weight, either obese or overweight, and around half of all Delawareans do not participate in regular physical activity. In 2014, about 11% of Delaware adults reported having diabetes, with that percentage rising to 18.6% for Delawareans with incomes below $15,000, compared with 7.8% for those who make $50,000 or more per year.
Starting January 2019, people who qualify for Medicaid and have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher will have access to at least 12 visits a year with a healthcare professional to support healthy weight.
Individuals with a BMI of 25 or higher and specific cardiovascular health risks will be able to see a medical professional for at least six hours every year. And those who qualify will be eligible for local programs that focus on obesity prevention and treatment.
Children who have high BMIs and are at-risk for obesity will also have access to regular visits with experts.
The new program falls in line with one of the policy objectives laid out in Governor John Carney’s Action Plan, in which his transition team recommended that DHSS launch a statewide effort to reduce the impact of obesity as a way to improve health outcomes and reduce health costs.
“My Healthy Weight offers the opportunity for DHSS to provide consistent coverage through our Medicaid program to thousands of clients who are at an unhealthy weight,” Governor Carney said. “This initiative will improve the quality of life for many Delawareans, offer us new ways to prevent obesity, and help us reduce the impact of such chronic conditions as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. I am grateful to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for believing in our ability to build a healthier Delaware.”
Delaware joins a collaborative of health care leaders from across the nation, including private and public payers and employers, who have joined together in this innovative pledge. The initiative will provide millions of Americans with consistent coverage to support healthy weight change.
Source(s): Kaiser Health News; Delaware.gov; News.Delaware.gov; Leavitt Partners Weekly News Summary; Delawareonline;