AMA Declares Obesity a Disease

Obesity: The Latest Workers' Comp Problem

A vote by the American Medical Association (AMA) earlier this week will undoubtedly have a significant impact on your company’s health care and workers’ compensation coverage.

The AMA voted Tuesday to recognize obesity as a disease. More than one third of Americans are classified as obese. The delegates voted 276 – 181 (60.4% to 39.6%) to classify obesity as “a disease with multiple pathophysiological aspects requiring a range of interventions.”

According to Business Insurance, many doctors are concerned about the affects of “medicalizing” a condition that affects so many people.

The potential implications to employment, life insurance coverage, disability, workers’ compensation, weight bias, insurer responsibility, physician reimbursement and diagnostic coding are set to be significant.

I predict that medicalizing this condition will not only affect employers’ future claims and cost of coverage, but will propel organizations to further embrace employee wellness programs.

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