Many insurers do not cover drugs approved to help people lose weight

Although two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, many insurers do not cover anti-obesity drugs. "For things that are preventive in the long term, it makes plan sponsors think about their strategy,? says Steve Miller, MD, the chief medical officer at Express Scripts.

Although two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, many insurers do not cover anti-obesity drugs. "For things that are preventive in the long term, it makes plan sponsors think about their strategy,? says Steve Miller, MD, the chief medical officer at Express Scripts. Companies with high turnover, for example, are less likely to cover the drugs, he says. Miller estimates that about a third of companies do not cover anti-obesity drugs at all, a third cover all FDA-approved weight-loss drugs, and a third cover approved drugs, but with restrictions to limit their use. The Medicare prescription drug program specifically excludes coverage of anti-obesity drugs. But as the link between obesity and increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other serious medical problems has become clearer, prescription drugs are seen as having a role to play in addressing the obesity epidemic.