Millions of Americans of all ages are overweight or obese, but weight issues can be a particular problem for older adults. In fact, almost 35% of adults 65 and older are considered obese, which also means that they are at higher risk of developing other medical conditions, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, and more. So, if you are one of the many older adults dealing with obesity, it is important to try and lose weight – fortunately, there are ways that you can do so with the help of Medicare.
Are You Obese?
In order to determine whether you are overweight or obese, you will need to calculate your body mass index (BMI). Your doctor will usually check your BMI during your Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, or you can calculate it yourself by plugging your height and weight into an online BMI calculator. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.
Health Problems Associated With Obesity
The sad reality of getting older is that it becomes much easier for you to gain weight. Your metabolism slows down; in addition, your joints might ache or you could develop a chronic condition, both of which could prevent you from getting enough exercise. Add to this the fact that our fat-stores tend to increase with age, and it becomes clear why older adults have such a high risk of obesity – and with obesity can come other dangerous medical conditions, including:
- Diabetes- Obesity is a major cause of type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gallbladder disease
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Certain cancers including breast, uterine, colon, and leukemia.
- Arthritis and mobility impairment- Every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees
- Cognitive decline
Research shows that obesity is linked to a shorter life expectancy, mainly because of all the health risks associated with it. To lower your risk of developing medical conditions associated with obesity, you’ll have to lower your body mass index; in order to do this, you will have to put in some work. But Medicare can help!
In order to help you lose weight and improve your health, Medicare Part B will cover obesity counseling services, both in-person and virtually through telehealth counseling. If you take advantage of this benefit, you will have access to a licensed psychologist, who will assess your diet and lifestyle, and then offer you a detailed dietary and physical activity plan to help you lose weight. This counseling is completely free to Medicare beneficiaries.
Medicare Supplement Plans
While obesity counseling is completely covered by Medicare, many of your medical expenses will not be fully covered, so if you’re looking for a way to help pay for the 20% of medical expenses that Medicare Part B doesn’t cover, you should look into a Medicare Supplement Plan. You can sign up for one of these plans at any time, but the best time to purchase one is during your 7-month Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (the 3 months before you turn 65, the month of your birthday, and the 3 months after you turn 65). If you sign up after your Initial Enrollment Period, you’ll face medical underwriting, and if you have a risky health condition like obesity, you could end up paying more or even getting denied for a plan. But don’t worry if you’re past your Initial Enrollment Period and are in the process of trying to lose weight – you can still find an affordable plan with the help of an EZ agent!
If you are interested in learning more about Medicare Supplement Plans, and the many different coverage options that they offer, EZ can compare every plan available to you, for free. Our agent will find one that fits your specific needs, so you can save as much money as possible. To compare plans for free, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a licensed agent, call 888-753-7207. No obligation.