Given Medicare's recent national coverage decision on bariatric surgery, as well as potential coverage expansions for other obesity-related treatments, data on obesity in the Medicare population have great relevance. Using nationally representative data, we estimate that between 1997 and 2002, the prevalence of obesity in the Medicare population increased by 5.6 percentage points, or about 2.7 million beneficiaries. By 2002, 21.4 percent of aged beneficiaries and 39.3 percent of disabled beneficiaries were obese, compared with 16.4 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively, in 1997. Using 2002 data, we estimate that three million beneficiaries would be eligible for bariatric surgery coverage under current Medicare policy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy