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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 379513, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/379513
Research Article

Designing Insurance to Promote Use of Childhood Obesity Prevention Services

1Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
2Alliance for a Healthier Generation, New York, NY 10005, USA

Received 30 January 2013; Accepted 21 March 2013

Academic Editor: Roya Kelishadi

Copyright © 2013 Kimberly J. Rask et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Childhood obesity is a recognized public health crisis. This paper reviews the lessons learned from a voluntary initiative to expand insurance coverage for childhood obesity prevention and treatment services in the United States. In-depth telephone interviews were conducted with key informants from 16 participating health plans and employers in 2010-11. Key informants reported difficulty ensuring that both providers and families were aware of the available services. Participating health plans and employers are beginning new tactics including removing enrollment requirements, piloting enhanced outreach to selected physician practices, and educating providers on effective care coordination and use of obesity-specific billing codes through professional organizations. The voluntary initiative successfully increased private health insurance coverage for obesity services, but the interviews described variability in implementation with both best practices and barriers identified. Increasing utilization of obesity-related health services in the long term will require both family- and provider-focused interventions in partnership with improved health insurance coverage.