Louisiana is known for its eclectic culture and unique cuisine. Unfortunately, residents of the state are not immune to the nationwide epidemic of obesity. Obesity can be caused by array of lifestyle and medical factors, and treatment options were limited until procedures like bariatric surgery were introduced. Bariatric surgery provides a treatment option that utilizes the body’s existing structure and processes to eliminate excess weight and prevent obesity by reducing the size of the stomach or by re-routing the digestive system to reduce fat absorption.
Because this type of surgical procedure is still relatively new and is only practiced by specialists, it has been sometimes difficult to receive for Louisiana residents who did not have coverage under traditional insurance or who were on Medicaid. Additionally, Louisiana did not have specialty care centers available that dealt with weight loss surgery, leaving access to such care out of reach for many Louisiana residents.
Does Louisiana Medicaid Cover Weight Loss Surgery?
Fortunately, as of 2018, Louisiana residents who qualify for state-sponsored healthcare benefits are now able to receive coverage for weight loss surgery. One of the first facilities to provide this type of surgery has been the University Medical Center-New Orleans, but state healthcare benefits programs in Louisiana may also provide coverage at other facilities.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all current weight loss treatments are covered by medical aid benefits. Restrictions still exist within the program that exclude coverage for things like weight loss supplements, so if you receive Medicaid benefits in Louisiana, you will want to discuss your unique needs with your local program administrative office. Knowing what is covered prior to seeking treatment can help you to know and understand your options, allowing you and your doctor to make the best decisions for your current and future health.
Lifestyle Changes Instead of Weight Loss Surgery
For some patients, simple lifestyle changes may be able to help alleviate potentially dangerous medical conditions, including obesity and high blood pressure, without the need for surgery. This approach may take more time, but it is also a viable alternative for many individuals who are not able to receive surgical treatment due to lack of insurance or due to healthcare concerns. The key to success in weight loss is to develop a diet and exercise plan with your physician that addresses your unique health with a focus on consistency.
It’s important to ensure that you follow all recommendations by your physician and only make adjustments to your plan under medical advice. Attempting to change your plan on your own could result in the development of additional medical concerns. Making changes could also jeopardize the weight loss you’ve experienced and hinder your future efforts. This becomes an even bigger factor if you are also attempting to make adjustments to prescription drug dosing, so if you’re taking any type of drug or supplement, make sure your medical care team is kept in the loop about side effects and changes.
Counseling Services May Also Help
Some individuals experience excessive weight gain due to mental and emotional conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder or food addiction. In these cases, affected individuals may experience benefits from counseling. This counseling may involve things like cognitive behavioral therapy, group counseling and nutrition education classes. Learning the triggers behind why someone overeats can help clinicians develop customized treatment approaches that target underlying psychological factors associated with unhealthy eating habits. Louisiana and others states may provide care for behavioral health services, so speak with your local administrative office to find out the details that pertain to your situation.