As Buzz Builds About Obesity Meds, Stubborn Coverage Gaps Remain

Although new treatments hold tremendous promise for addressing obesity and the myriad health issues associated with it, Medicare Part D is barred from covering them, and private insurers’ coverage is variable. And there are multiple barriers that will make fixing those coverage gaps challenging, health policy experts said during a recent panel discussion.

Perhaps the most headline-grabbing obesity treatment is semaglutide, which Novo Nordisk sells under the brands Ozempic (for Type II diabetes) and Wegovy (for weight loss). That drug has recently been the topic of a cascade of news articles discussing the drug’s ability to help patients shed stubborn pounds, side effects such as hair loss, and shortages faced by some diabetes patients due to semaglutide’s skyrocketing popularity.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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