CMS: Medicare will pay for obesity surgery for elderly

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has approved proposed standards for Medicare's coverage of obesity surgery in the elderly and disabled.

Under the new rule, Medicare would cover certain gastric bypass and banding procedures for elderly and disabled people who are overweight and suffer from at least one disease associated with obesity, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

In November of last year, CMS proposed expanding coverage to disabled people and excluding coverage of obesity surgery for people ages 65 and older. Following a brief comment period, however, and a review of new data, the agency has concluded no reason exists to exclude the elderly from the procedures.