Healthcare Purchasing for the Obesity Paradigm Shift: New Resource Available

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The chronic disease of obesity is increasingly affecting Americans, and this is especially true for Kentuckians. As of 2021, 40.3% of Kentuckians were classified as obese with a BMI of 30 or greater. This ranks Kentucky at 48 out of 50 states in obesity prevalence. With 46% of Kentucky’s population receiving employer-sponsored insurance, Kentucky employers are directly impacted by the physical, mental, social, and economic costs of obesity. Employers can engage health plan members in the current science of obesity management by improving clinically appropriate access to bariatric surgeries, lifestyle and behavioral therapies, and anti-obesity medications.

KHC employer roundtables convene healthcare purchasers to learn about pressing health issues facing their employees and the communities where they reside. These convenings are a method for healthcare purchasers to discuss their current wins, challenges, and opportunities to address these pressing health issues, identify approaches to intervening, and coalesce around shared priorities.

On April 23, 2024, the KHC convened an employer roundtable where employers focused on supporting health plan members who are managing the chronic disease of obesity. The roundtable was supported by Eli Lilly, USA. The objectives of the roundtable were to:

  • Bring healthcare purchasers together to understand the biology of obesity as a chronic disease state and the key components of the obesity care continuum.
  • Engage employers in addressing the stigma and bias related to obesity and obesity management.
  • Identify the current state of employer coverage of obesity management approaches (i.e. bariatric surgery, lifestyle and behavioral interventions, and anti-obesity medications) in Kentucky.
  • Identify opportunities for employers to enhance their benefit designs to ensure quality, affordability, and equity within the obesity care continuum.
  • Create an educational resource to identify opportunities for employers to address the disease of obesity.

This resource summarizes the learnings from this employer roundtable as they relate to these objectives, provides insight from the employers who participated in the roundtable, and provides additional recommendations and resources for other employers. Educational content at the roundtable was provided by Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA, Dipl. ABOM, Co-Founder, Chief Medical Officer, Metabolic Health & Primary Care Physician at KnownWell; Tim Dall, Health Economist and Executive Director of GlobalData Plc; and Alecia, a person living with obesity. This report includes their teachings. Employers should use this resource to better understand the disease of obesity, and what they can do to support health plan members under their employer-sponsored health insurance plans.

Read the Full Report

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