Medicare news that may be helpful for many:
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced that Medicare is adding coverage for preventive services to reduce obesity. This adds to Medicare’s existing portfolio of preventive services that are now available without cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act. It complements the Million Hearts initiative led jointly by CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with other HHS agencies, communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, and private sector partners across the country to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the next 5 years.
Screening for obesity and counseling for eligible beneficiaries by primary care providers in settings such as physicians’ offices are covered under this new benefit. For a beneficiary who screens positive for obesity with a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2, the benefit would include one face-to-face counseling visit each week for one month and one face-to-face counseling visit every other week for an additional five months. The beneficiary may receive one face-to-face counseling visit every month for an additional six months (for a total of 12 months of counseling) if he or she has achieved a weight reduction of at least 6.6 pounds (or 3 kilograms) during the first six months of counseling.
Through the end of October, 22.6 million people with Original Medicare have received one or more of the free covered preventive services this year.