State eyes new strategy to encourage weight loss

Dec 06, 2010

Some people are finding weight loss success through surgery.

Observers of the health and life insurance industries will be watching South Carolina over the next several years in light of a policy change that will benefit numerous state workers.

The Associated Press reported on a pilot program in South Carolina where 100 state workers will be able to have gastric bypass and lap band surgery covered by their health insurance. The wire service noted that the procedures currently cost in the $24,000 range.

With obesity one of the nation's top health problems, it makes sense for patients and healthcare providers to seek out long-term solutions involving preventive medicine.

Along with giving millions of people a better quality of life, this strategy can also help save the healthcare system billions of dollars. For example, insurance companies may come to find that a gastric bypass is far less expensive to cover than years of treatment for problems like diabetes or heart attacks.

From a life insurance perspective, obesity can be a red flag that results in higher premium costs. This is because it is generally linked to a number of chronic medical conditions that can significantly shorten an individual's life expectancy.


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