Last month, Reuters reported that America’s third-largest health insurer, Aetna Inc would provide coverage for weight loss drugs sold by Vivus (Qsymia / Qnexa) and Arena Pharmaceuticals (Belviq).
WBB Securities LLC analyst Stephen Brozak commented that “this is probably the simplest business decision on Aetna’s plate in all of 2012, because to not reimburse this would have put them in the crosshairs of every single healthcare decision maker in the United States. Everyone acknowledges that we have a pandemic obesity problem, and to not be a part of a solution even if its a marginal solution, means you are part of the problem,” he added.
Why would Aetna choose to cover their costs of a marginal obesity solution while ignoring weight-loss / disease prevention solutions that actually work?
- Like a diet high in fresh fruit & vegetables
Maybe it’s like my Twitter buddy @powerfulhunger said…that it’s too impractical to administer.
But then again…maybe it isn’t.
Maybe it isn’t impractical for Aetna et al to partner with America’s food retailers to provide an instant percentage discount on all fresh/frozen fruit and vegetables.
Let’s use an imaginary Aetna client to test my hypothesis…
- Aetna client walks into WalMart, Kroger, Costco, etc…
- Aetna client picks up prescription from pharmacy
- Aetna client presents Aetna insurance card to pharmacist
- Aetna client pays discounted price for their prescription
- Aetna client walks over to the WalMart, Kroger, Costco fresh/frozen produce section
- Aetna client loads up their cart with produce
- Aetna client presents Aetna insurance card to cashier
- Aetna client pays discounted price for their produce
Doesn’t seem that impractical to me.
But then again…what the heck do I know about HEALTH insurance?
- Reuters article
- Aetna – Weight Reduction Medication Policy
- QNEXA: Money & Politics v.s. Science & Common Sense
- Belviq : A Triumph of Money over Common Sense?
- Bye Bye Healthy Lifestyle : Hello Qnexa
- Circulation – Produce & Obesity research
- Obesity – Produce & Obesity research
- International Journal of Obesity and related Metabolic Disorders – Produce & Obesity research
- JAMA – Produce consumption & Stroke