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Medicare Offers Weight Loss Program for Eligible Participants

As Americans age, it is important for them to stay as healthy as possible. Diet choices and exercise routines are easy to ignore after retirement. People often eat less or eat fewer nutrient-packed foods after they retire. It is understandable for a person who worked hard for many decades to want to rest after retiring.

People who rest and avoid exercise after working hard for so many years put themselves at an increased risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Health insurance companies and health organizations across the country are working harder to promote the importance of healthy weight loss for Americans who are retired or nearing retirement. This complements part of the Affordable Care Act's goals, which include promoting preventative health care. Medicare has also joined in the fight against obesity and its related diseases.

Any Medicare participants who qualify for the obesity screening also qualify for a special weight loss program. With the program, Medicare covers as many as 22 in-person counseling sessions with a primary care physician. The physician must accept Medicare to qualify, and the participant must have a body mass index of at least 30.

Most Medicare members do not know about this benefit. With a large percentage of America's senior population being overweight or obese, it is a valuable benefit for every Medicare participant to consider. Since counseling sessions are personalized to include individual medical history and health status, participants have a more reliable plan to work from than what they could find by browsing the Internet. Having a personalized plan is important for people with existing health issues. They may otherwise make dangerous mistakes in developing their own weight loss plan based on general information found online.

The first step toward taking advantage of this benefit is to set up an appointment with a primary care doctor.

Everyone is entitled to one free preventative or wellness checkup each year. For those who have not yet taken advantage of their free visit, now is a good time to do so. BMI will be calculated during the visit. This number is derived from a patient's height-to-weight ratio. If the number is 30 or higher, ask the physician about setting up counseling sessions for weight loss. While many physicians offer this service in their clinics, some may not. They will typically offer a referral to another clinic with the service. Patients who are not given information from their primary care doctor about this service or another clinic offering it should discuss the issue with an agent.

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