UCLA Study Shows High Rates of Obesity Among HMO Members
About 52% of California residents enrolled in private HMO plans are overweight or obese, compared with an average 54% of state residents, according to a study released on Wednesday by the University of California-Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research, the Bakersfield Californian reports.
The study, which was commissioned by the California Office of the Patient Advocate, found that more than five million California residents between ages 12 and 64 who are enrolled in HMOs are overweight or obese (Behziz, Bakersfield Californian, 7/20).
The HMOs that had a higher-than-average prevalence of obesity and being overweight included Aetna with 59%, Kaiser Permanente with 54% and Health Net with 53%. Cigna, Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California and PacifiCare were at or under the state HMO average, according to the study (Wells, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 7/21).
Researchers found that obesity adds $7.7 billion to medical care costs in California each year.
Forty-seven percent of non-HMO members are obese and 55% of the uninsured are obese, according to study author Dylan Roby. He said the researchers plan to publish a more-inclusive study on the statistics (Bakersfield Californian, 7/20).
The study's authors said that HMOs can improve the health of their members and control increasing health care costs by promoting services that address the issue (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 7/21).