JOPLIN, MO.--- Obamacare is stepping up its coverage for weight-loss counseling. Diabetes specialists at Freeman Health System highlighted the importance of covering weight-loss programs through insurance. In 2014, Obamacare will allow most insurance companies to pay for the programs.
"Here in Missouri, we are above national average about 10.2% of the population," said Susan Pittman, Diabetes Education.
President Barrack Obama is using his new Affordable Care plan to make sure insurance companies cover obese patients trying to lose weight before the onset of diabetes. Many people will soon have weight loss programs covered through insurance.
"Five pounds may be able to eliminate the chances of having diabetes. So why don't we try that? If they don't know that, then it's not going to happen," said Dr. Badrieh, Freeman Health System Endocrinologist.
The amount of coverage is up to an individual's insurance plan.
"Studies will show that if people will lose weight, exercise more, we can actually decrease their risk of developing diabetes," said Pittman.
79 million people in the nation are considered pre-diabetic, meaning they may develop diabetes in the next two to three years.
"Insurance companies need to understand that preventing diabetes in the first place would save more money. Than for the insurance companies to pay for a follow-up visit every few months," said Dr. Badrieh.
Doctor Badrieh also says though insurance companies are taking a step to help obese patients, he feels the intensive weight-loss programs also need to be covered.
"If we do intensive weight counseling and intensive exercise counseling and we follow patients frequently, they improve in more than 50% of the cases. We're able to prevent diabetes," said Dr. Badrieh.
He says not covering those programs could be a big mistake.
"They deal with the consequences of diabetes rather than preventing it in the first place. This is where the big money savers are," said Dr. Badrieh.
Freeman Health System has diabetes educational programs available through insurance, but there are free support groups held the third Monday of each month in the women's center. For more information, click here.
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