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Uptake of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Obesity Benefit: 2012-2013
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    To assess the use of the Medicare Obesity coverage benefit (MOB) by a licensed physician or associate provider in an outpatient setting in older adults.


    We used a serial cross-sectional analysis of fee-for-service Medicare claims (2012 and 2013) to assess the use of the MOB. Number and proportion of Medicare beneficiaries over age 65 using the benefit were assessed. Correlation between state-obesity rates and MOB uptake was determined based on state-specific obesity prevalence data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.


    There were 27,338 (0.10%) Medicare beneficiaries over age 65 in 2012 using the MOB, slightly more in 2013 (n=46,821 [0.17%]). Mean age of MOB users in both years was 73 years and 62% were females. Use declined with older age and was highest in the Northeast and lowest in the Midwest. High state obesity prevalence was not correlated with higher uptake of the MOB. Estimated proportion of persons with obesity using the MOB was 0.35% and 0.60% in successive years. We observed a mean of 1.99 and 2.16 claims/MOB user.


    While the rate of MOB use increased in the second full year of its implementation, few are availing themselves of this benefit.

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