On Wednesday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m., private and public health care payers and employers from across the country took the My Healthy Weight pledge to offer obesity prevention and treatment for individuals of all ages. Today, more than one in three U.S. adults are overweight or living with obesity. This first-ever collaboration is taking serious action to tackle one of America’s most challenging public health concerns.
Opening remarks were followed by an unveiling of the My Healthy Weight signatories and a panel discussion with leading payers and employers.
Howell Wechsler, EdD, MPH
CEO, Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Dr. Donald Schwarz
Vice President, Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Jenny Bogard, MPH
Director of Healthcare Strategies, Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Dr. Anand Parekh
Chief Medical Advisor, BPC
About My Healthy Weight
My Healthy Weight is the first-ever collective initiative offering obesity prevention and treatment for individuals of all ages. The initiative will provide millions of individuals nationally with consistent coverage to support healthy weight change. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Bipartisan Policy Center developed this public-private initiative with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Physical inactivity, obesity, and related chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and hypertension, constitute some of the most challenging and costly public health threats facing America today. Obesity rates in the United States have doubled among adults over the past 20 years and have tripled among children in a generation. More than one-third of U.S. adults have obesity; and while there have been recent declines in the prevalence of obesity among children, childhood obesity is still too high with nearly one-out-of-every five kids having obesity. In 2008, the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. totaled $147 billion.
It is in recognition of this grave public health challenge that private and public payers came together throughout a series of convenings focused on payer strategies to counter this national epidemic. In order to improve the quality, accessibility and utilization of preventive and treatment services for obesity among both children and adults, participating payers have agreed that collective action to is warranted on a national scale. The following pledges that our signatories commit to are a critical first step in addressing this care gap. Our signatories recognize that simply offering coverage does not mean that care will be received and thus, our signatories also commit to working with providers and beneficiaries to increase utilization of these newly standardized benefits and to encourage the collection of obesity metrics.
With this pledge, beginning on January 1, 2019, My Healthy Weight members commit to build on their organization’s efforts to fight obesity.
Key Components of the My Healthy Weight pledge
Members will offer intensive behavioral interventions every plan year for members with a qualifying diagnosis:
a. At least 12 visits for adults with a BMI ≥ 30
b. At least 6 contact hours for adults with a BMI ≥ 25 and one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease
c. At least 12 visits for children ages 3 years or older with a BMI ≥ 95th percentile
d. At least 8 visits for children ages 3 years or older with a BMI 85th – 95th percentile
Members will implement and/or cover one or more community-based program(s) for adults and/or children:
a. Adult-focused programs: Qualifying programs should have a previously demonstrated ability to achieve at least a five percent weight loss in adult participants.
b. Child-focused programs: Qualifying programs should have a previously demonstrated ability to achieve a BMI percentile decrease in child participants.
The founding members of My Healthy Weight have also committed to a variety of activities that will support the utilization of these newly covered benefits and, where applicable, move their organization towards value-based payments for obesity. See below for signed pledges from each member.
State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Shield of California
Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan
Connecticut Department of Social Services
Delaware Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance
Novo Nordisk Inc.
South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Texas Health Aetna