Louisiana Now Covers Bariatric Surgery for State Employees

| September 1, 2021

by Micki Hayden, MSN, ARNP

Mrs. Hayden is Bariatric Program Coordinator at Ochsner- North Shore in Slidell, Louisiana.

Bariatric Times. 2021;18(9):11.

Many states within the United States have been plagued by lack of access to care for patients with obesity. Approximately one percent of patients who qualify for bariatric surgery do not have bariatric coverage within their insurance policy. Louisiana has one of the highest obesity rates and worst access to bariatric care and surgery. In the state of Louisiana, a third of the population, which is approximately 1.4 million people, do not have bariatric coverage under the primary insurance carrier in the state, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. Governor John Bel Edward had a vision of taking the state of Louisiana’s overall health rating from 49 to 40 by the year 2030 and becoming a healthier state. To achieve this, the governor, lobbyists, and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) representatives went to the state legislation and discussed the overall obesity epidemic within Louisiana and the United States. Obesity continues to be a problem within the state; therefore, legislation has now changed under the vision of Healthy State 2030. Legislative Act 387 is now in effect as of August 1, 2021, to insure Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana state employees for bariatric coverage. The state health plan will only cover 300 bariatric surgeries per year of the approximately 32,000 state employees that qualify. However, it is a step in the right direction in our aspiration to increase access to care and healthcare coverage for obesity. We hope that other insurance carriers in Louisiana will change or expand their bariatric policies to reflect the goal of Louisiana becoming a healthier state by 2030 resonating the ambition of governors, ASMBS representatives, and lobbyists in fighting the prevalence of obesity.


Category: ASMBS News and Update, Past Articles

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