Obesity coverage advocacy toolkit

Join our effort to engage Members of Congress and their staff to expand access to affordable, effective obesity treatment and care.

Obesity is a medical condition in which too much body fat negatively impacts a person’s health. Obesity has been linked to serious conditions including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, weight-related arthritis, cancer and digestive health issues, including gastroesophageal reflux disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Many patients are not making the connection between the impact of their weight on other health conditions, including digestive health issues, and they are unaware that these conditions can be prevented, and in most cases treated successfully, by weight management.

For more information about obesity as a chronic condition, obesity treatment options and insurance coverage for obesity treatment options, visit AGA’s Obesity Resource Center.

While some weight-loss programs, services and treatments are covered by insurance plans, many others are not. With nearly 42% of Americans adults living with obesity and increasing numbers being treated by gastroenterologists (GIs), there is an urgent need for expanded access to treatment and care.

Medical Consequences of Obesity

About the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act

The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) [H.R. 4818/S. 2407] is a bi-partisan bill that would expand Medicare coverage of obesity screening and treatments from a diverse range of health care providers who specialize in obesity care as well as FDA-approved medications for chronic weight management.

TROA would also expand Medicare benefits for lifestyle counseling and additional support for specialists, psychologists and dietitians. Since Medicare is considered the “gold standard” for health insurance, many private insurance companies model their covered health benefits to reflect Medicare beneficiaries. The passage of TROA could lead to increased obesity care coverage for all Americans.

As a member of the Obesity Care Advocacy Network, AGA supports TROA and believes that this legislation would allow GIs to better assist patients in managing their weight, substantially improving their health.

AGA created these advocacy toolkits to encourage patients and providers to join our effort to engage Members of Congress and their staff to expand access to affordable, effective obesity treatment and care.

What is the status of the legislation?

Senators Tom Carper, D-DE, and Bill Cassidy, MD, R-LA, and Representatives Brad Wenstrup, MD, R-OH, Raul Ruiz, MD, D-CA, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD, R-IA, and Gwen Moore, D-WI, have reintroduced the bipartisan Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) [H.R. 4818/S. 2407].

This legislation is a vital first step in expanding access to obesity treatment as it would expand Medicare coverage to include screening and treatment of obesity by a diverse range of health care providers who provide obesity care. The bill also includes coverage of behavioral counseling, prescription drugs for long-term weight management, and other prevention and treatment options.

This program is supported by an independent grant from Novo Nordisk.