Understanding Access to Care
Unfortunately, it is quite common for individuals with obesity to struggle with accessing treatments and services that can help them manage their weight and health. Barriers to accessing care can include limited or no health insurance coverage, working with a provider who shows weight bias or is unwilling to discuss treatment options, or even a lack of accommodations in health clinics and hospitals (i.e. limited-size blood pressure cuffs, CT scan machines, hospital beds).
Advances in Treatment
The field of obesity medicine has grown greatly over the last decade. While we still have much to learn, our understanding of the biochemistry, physiology and behaviors that lead to weight gain has never been clearer. With these discoveries, new therapies have emerged to help individuals take control of their weight and improve their health.
We have new medicines that target specific parts of the body to help individuals control their appetite and cravings, leading to significant weight-loss. New technologies and improved ways of tracking progress have made bariatric surgery safer than it has ever been. Study after study has come out, showing that weight-loss, whether medical or surgical, improves health, quality of life and life span.
Access to Treatment
While there have been great strides in obesity treatment, the ability for people to access these life-changing treatments remains very limited. If anything, access to obesity treatments has become MORE restrictive over the last decade. We are seeing a disturbing trend across the country as employers and insurance companies completely exclude obesity management services and place significant barriers in front of individuals before they can use their insurance to help cover the cost of weight counseling, medications or surgery. Unfortunately, insurance barriers are only one example of the many barriers that people with obesity may face when trying to access care.
What We Believe
Access to care should not be limited by a person’s weight, size or economic status. That’s why expanding access and limiting treatment barriers is a core focus of the OAC. We believe that patients should be able to access any credible service or science-based treatment option that can be a tool in improving their health.