Advocacy Training at YWM2018

Gaining Ground on Advocacy, State by State

On the eve of YWM2018 yesterday, roughly 50 key members gathered to sharpen skills and support a new push for advocacy state by state. As ever, the priorities are constant and clear: gaining access to care, supporting research, and reducing bias and discrimination. Already, we’re gaining ground.

Better Access to Care at Cigna and Emblem

CEO Joe Nadglowski explained to the group that OAC has begun pursuing targeted legal strategies to overcome discriminatory insurance practices. For example, some health insurers in New York routinely discriminate against people with obesity who need bariatric surgery. Their method is simple. They require patients to enroll in six months of non-surgical weight management before they will consider approving a needed surgery. Of course, this is an absurd stalling game. What’s more, it’s medically unnecessary and it does nothing to promote better outcomes.

But perhaps the most important thing is this. It’s actually illegal. It violates provisions of the ADA and New York’s human rights laws.

So earlier this year, OAC retained lawyers to persuade insurers who are doing this to cut it out. And the good news is that two major insurers – Cigna and Emblem Health – have already complied. We fully expect others to follow suit lest they find themselves in court, wasting everyone’s time.

OAC Community

State by state, this is the type of progress we can make. Fighting discrimination. Improving access to care. And promoting research that will help us overcome obesity.

To read more about OAC’s advocacy priorities, click here. To join the OAC Community and support the cause, click here.

Advocacy Training at YWM2018, photograph © Ted Kyle / flickr

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July 20, 2018