Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 3, 2024

MVNews this week:  Page 9


Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 3, 2024 



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Dear Savvy Senior:

Does Medicare cover any weight-loss treatments for 
overweight retirees? I just turned 65 and need to lose about 
100 pounds and would like to know if Medicare can help. 
Overweight Owen 

Dear Owen:

Yes, traditional Medicare does indeed cover some 
weight-loss treatments like counseling and certain types 
of surgery for overweight beneficiaries, but unfortunately 
it doesn’t cover weight-loss programs or medications. 
Here’s what you should know.

Who’s Eligible

For beneficiaries to receive available Medicare-covered 
weight-loss treatments your body mass index (BMI), 
which is an estimate of your body fat based on your 
height and weight, must be 30 or higher.

A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese and increases 
your risk for many health conditions, such as some 
cancers, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke 
and sleep apnea. To find out your BMI, the National 
Institutes of Health has a free calculator that you can 
access online at

What’s Covered

If you find that your BMI is 30 or higher, Medicare Part 
B will cover up to 12 months of weight-loss counseling 
conducted by a medical professional in a primary care 
setting (like a doctor’s office).

Most counseling sessions entail an initial obesity 
screening, a dietary assessment and behavioral therapy 
designed to help you lose weight by focusing on diet and 

Medicare also covers certain types of bariatric and 
metabolic surgery for morbidly obese beneficiaries 
who have a BMI of 35 or above and have at least one 
underlying obesity-related health condition, such as 
diabetes or heart disease. You must also show that you’ve 
tried to lose weight in the past through dieting or exercise 
and have been unsuccessful.

These procedures make changes to your digestive system 
to help you lose weight and improve the health of your 

Some common bariatric surgical procedures covered 
include Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, which reduces 
the stomach to a small pouch that makes you feel full 
even following small meals. And laparoscopic adjustable 
gastric banding, which inserts an inflatable band that 
creates a gastric pouch encircling the top of the stomach.

What’s Not Covered

Unfortunately, original Medicare does not cover weight-
loss programs such as fitness or gym memberships, 
meal delivery services, or popular weight-loss programs 
such as Jenny Craig, Noom and WW (formerly Weight 

Medicare also does not cover any weight-loss drugs, but 
it does cover FDA approved diabetes drugs that have 
unintentionally become very popular for weight loss.

Medicare Part D plans cover Ozempic and Mounjaro for 
diabetes only, not for weight loss! So, your doctor will 
need to prescribe these medications for diabetes in order 
to get them covered.

Medicare also does not cover Wegovy or Zepbound 
because they’re approved only for weight loss.

The reason behind the weight-loss drug omission is the 
Medicare Modernization Act, which specifically excluded 
them back when the law was written 20 years ago. They 
also excluded drugs used for cosmetic purposes, fertility, 
hair growth and erectile dysfunction.

Without insurance, weight-loss medications are 
expensive, often costing $1,000 to $1,300 a month. 
To help curb costs, try websites like or to find the best retail prices in your 
area. Or, if your income is limited, try patient assistance 
programs through Eli Lilly ( which 
makes Mounjaro and Zepbound, or Novo Nordisk 
( the maker of Ozempic and Wegovy.

Medicare Advantage

If you happen to be enrolled in a private Medicare 
Advantage plan, you may have coverage for gym 
memberships and some weight loss and healthy food 
delivery programs. These are considered expanded 
supplemental benefits and have gradually been added to 
some plans to provide coverage for nutrition, health and 
wellness. Contact your plan to see what it provides.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, 
Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is 
a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The 
Savvy Senior” book.

Michele Silence, M.A. is a 37-year certified fitness 

professional who offers semi-private/virtual fitness 
classes. Contact Michele at Visit 
her Facebook page at: michelesfitness Visit her Facebook 
page at: michelesfitness.


Rapid and visible weight loss. Who wouldn’t 
love that? Unfortunately, many popular weight 
loss strategies lead to water loss rather than 
genuine fat reduction. Regardless of the method, 
immediate reductions on the scale are primarily 
a consequence of loss of bodily fluids. While 
the allure of fast results may be appealing, it is 
important to differentiate between water weight 
loss and sustainable fat loss. Understanding 
the mechanisms behind these strategies and 
their potential risks is helpful in finding better 
approaches to long-term weight management. 
Here are a few common weight loss efforts that 
really don’t help reduce body fat and can be 
dangerous to overall health.

Low-Carb Diets. Low-carbohydrate diets, such 
as the ketogenic and Atkins diets, have gained 
popularity for their potential to induce rapid 
weight loss, particularly in the form of water 
weight. These diets restrict carbohydrate intake, 
prompting the body to use stored glycogen for 
energy. Glycogen, stored in the liver and muscles, 
binds with water, and when it is utilized, the 
associated water is released, leading to a noticeable 
reduction in body weight. While individuals on 
low-carb diets may experience quick initial weight 
loss, in reality this effect is due to the depletion 
of glycogen and water loss rather than a sustained 
loss of body fat. As a result, the weight lost during 
the initial phase of these diets is often quickly 
regained when carbohydrate intake is increased. 
Additionally, low-carbohydrate diets may alter the 
body's fluid balance and electrolyte levels, leading 
to a diuretic effect. This can contribute to further 
water weight loss but does not equate to fat loss. 
While these diets may offer short-term benefits, 
they raise concerns about potential nutrient 
deficiencies, particularly if not followed with 
careful attention to nutritional balance.

Saunas And Steam Rooms. Both are often used 
to induce sweating and, consequently, rapid 
water weight loss. Spending time in these high 
temperature environments can lead to increased 
perspiration, giving the illusion of weight loss on 
the scale. However, the weight lost during sauna 
or steam room sessions is primarily due to the 
release of fluids through sweating and does not 
reflect actual fat reduction. While these sessions 
can offer a sense of relaxation and may contribute 
to a brief reduction in water weight, the effects are 
temporary. Once individuals consume fluids, the 
lost water weight is promptly regained. They also 
pose potential risks. Dehydration is a significant 
concern, as the body loses essential fluids through 
sweating. This can lead to electrolyte imbalances, 
dizziness, and an increased heart rate. Saunas and 
steam rooms should be used cautiously, ensuring 
adequate hydration and avoiding prolonged 

Diuretics. Using diuretics is a weight loss method 
that involves the elimination of fluids from 
the body, and while it may lead to a temporary 
reduction on the scale, the lost weight comes 
from water rather than fat. Diuretics function 
by promoting the excretion of sodium and water 
through urine, aiming to aid conditions such as 
edema or high blood pressure. Using diuretics 
for weight loss purposes raises serious health 
concerns. Prolonged or improper use of diuretics 
can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, 
and disturbances in the body's fluid and mineral 
equilibrium. Dehydration, in particular, can result 
in adverse effects such as dizziness, fatigue, and 
increased heart rate. Additionally, the lost water 
weight is quickly regained once normal fluid 
intake resumes. While diuretics may provide a 
temporary solution for conditions under medical 
supervision, using them as a strategy for sustained 
weight loss is not only ineffective but potentially 

Cleanses And Detox Diets. Cleanses and detox 
diets, often marketed as methods to "detoxify" the 
body, frequently tout initial weight loss as one of 
their claimed benefits. This weight loss, however, 
is largely a consequence of the elimination of water 
and waste rather than a sustainable reduction in 
body fat. These diets often involve severe caloric 
restrictions, the consumption of specific foods, 
or the use of cleansing beverages, purportedly 
designed to flush toxins from the body. While 
individuals may notice a rapid decrease on the 
scale during the early stages of these regimens, 
it's essential to recognize that the lost weight is 
primarily attributable to the expulsion of bodily 
fluids and waste products.

Keep in mind the body naturally retains water 
as part of its normal functions, and when any 
of the above strategies increase urination or 
bowel movements, the associated water loss can 
be mistaken for true fat loss. Once individuals 
resume their regular eating patterns, rehydration 
occurs, and the lost water weight is quickly 
regained. Weight management is best achieved 
through a balanced diet, regular physical activity, 
and healthy lifestyle habits. Reasonable behavioral 
changes are more effective over the long run, safer 
and much more sustainable.


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


If it were not for decisions, my 
life would be perfect. After all 
these years, I still wrestle with 
deci-sion-making. I admit 
that I often don’t make good 

I'm not sure, so don't repeat this, but I think 
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage 
knows this and uses it to her advantage. 
How? I don’t know. She is the primary 
source behind my decision-making.

I hate choosing one thing over another when 
both things are good. That's a bad part of life 
if you ask me. Why can't everything be easy?

Driving across town, I must decide whether 
to turn right or left. That's not much of a 
decision-making process because I know 
where I'm going. If I make the right decisions 
while driving, I will get to where I need to 

So, making decisions can be a real challenge 
for me.

For example, The Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage in the morning will ask me what 
I want for supper. I have not even had lunch 
yet, and now I am backed into a corner and 
have to make a decision about supper.

Usually, I respond by saying, "Whatever you 
would like to make for supper will be okay 
with me." Then I smile because I don't know 
what I am getting into. She has been making 
supper for me for over 53 years, and I have 
no complaints as of today. Her decision 
about supper is always okay with me.

Of course, there are those times when she 
asks me that question, and sometimes I will 
respond by saying, "Anything but broccoli."

I need to be careful in this area because she 
is a vegetable aficionado in the strictest sense 
of the word. If it's a vegetable, it's on her 
menu, and it's not even open for a decision.

I always wrestle with decisions, and by 
now, I should have perfected my decision-
making skills. Just when I think I have, 
some decision comes before me that I have 
difficulty dealing with.

The other day, for example, The Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage was baking pies 
for some family get-together. I could smell 
them all the way back to my office.

She came to my office, looked in, and asked, 
"Would you like a piece of pie?"

That's not even in the decision category. So I 
answered, "Of course I do."

"Okay," she said, "which pie would you like? 
You can only have one piece."

I asked her about the pies she was baking, 
and she said, "I have Apple pie, lemon 
meringue pie, peach pie, coconut cream pie, 
and chocolate pie. You can only have one 
piece, so which one?"

That is not a decision-making venue. There 
is no way I can decide on one pie over five 
pieces of pie. No matter which pie I pick, I'm 
gonna love it, but I'm also going to wonder 
about the other pies that she has.

After all these years, I can't deal with that 
kind of decision-making process.

Pondering on that decision-making process, 
I looked at her and said, "I'm not sure which 
one I want; what would you recommend?"

Looking at me with a sly little grin, she 
said, "I'm not sure which one I would pick. 
They're all very delicious and so it doesn't 
matter which one you pick."

That's the problem with making a decision. 
When you make a decision, you eliminate 
everything else. If I decide on the pie that 
I'm going to eat at the time, it eliminates 
all the other pies that are on the table. How 
can anybody handle that kind of decision-
making process?

As she was ready to leave my office, I stopped 
her and said, "I'll take any pie you choose for 
me and bring it here." Then I smiled.

I waited. And waited. And waited. She never 
came back with any pie for me. I had no idea 
what was wrong.

Finally, my nerves got the best of me, and I 
walked into the kitchen to find out what was 

There she was, sitting down at the table, 
eating a nice piece of pie. I looked at her. She 
looked back and smiled. Then I asked her, 
"So, where's my pie?"

She looked at me, laughed, and said, "Since 
you could not make up your mind when I 
asked you, I just thought you didn't want any 
pie." Then she laughed some more.

I did not think that was funny, I walked over 
to the pies and carefully looked at them. 
Each one had its own aroma and I loved each 
one. Looking at them, I was trying to figure 
out which pie I would choose to eat.

Making decisions is very hard to do, at least 
for me especially when it comes to choosing 
my pie. No matter which pie I choose, I 
would love it, but then I would wonder about 
the pies I did not choose.

Life has its ups and downs.

When I have to make a decision about 
anything, a Bible verse comes to mind.

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all 
thine heart; and lean not unto thine own 
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge 
him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

When I trust my understanding, I always 
fail in some degree. When I accept the fact 
that I don’t know everything, I then turn my 
trust to the Lord.

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