While many beneficiaries of Social Security Disability benefits are well aware of the fact that obesity is considered a disabling disease, we simply had to wait for the rest of society to get on the same page. That happened this month when the American Medical Association announced that it would now officially recognize obesity as a disease. “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” explained Dr. Patrice Harris, a member of the association’s board.
But as some critics point out, further changes will need to be made in the medical community before any real progress on the issue can be seen. For starters, some say that changes will need to be made to the BMI, or Body Mass Index, which has been considered out of date by many physicians for quite some time. According to some medical experts, the BMI does not allow physicians to properly diagnose obesity, which can interfere with not only treatment but with a person’s ability to receive disability benefits as well.
Certain changes will also need to be made to some Medicare plans as well to better cover prescription drugs for patients suffering from obesity. At present time, some sufferers are finding that certain drugs are not covered under their plan and therefore are not receiving the appropriate compensation they require to effectively treat their disease.
But possibly the most important change will be to patient’s medical coverage. By having the nation’s largest physician group bolster the definition of obesity as a disease, insurance companies will be more inclined to offer coverage to people for medical treatments in the future. This could mean a lot to people with limited funds such as those receiving disability benefits.
Source: The New York Times, “A.M.A. Recognizes Obesity as a Disease,” Andrew Pollack, June 18, 2013