More than 66% of Americans are overweight — and 33.9% of adults in the U.S. are obese. In New York City alone – despite the war of sugary drinks and fast foods – the obesity rate has soared more than 25%.
And it’s not getting any better.
In fact, by the time 2020 “rolls” around, more than 75% of us may be fat.
People don’t want to change. They’re happy the way they are…
The government isn’t happy about that, though.
So it’s demanding that insurance plans help obese patients lose weight. Under new health insurance rules, screening and obesity counseling have to be covered 100%.
That means zero co-pays or deductibles for the obese.
It’s part of a goal to help Americans lose at least five to 10% of their weight.
“All private insurance plans starting in 2014 must cover intensive behavioral counseling for obesity in adults. That’s about 56 million people with obesity. It is anticipated that 3.7 million Americans with obesity will enroll in health marketplace exchanges, where they will be entitled to intensive behavioral counseling of obesity, and at least one prescription drug for obesity treatment,” according to HealthCentral.com.
That being the case, you can argue that obesity drug makers – Arena (ARNA), Orexigen (OREX) and Vivus (VVUS) – could also benefit from the anti-obesity healthcare push.
At least… that’s the hope.
In recent weeks, stocks like Vivus have already seen a positive increase in coverage.
Cowen Group analysts just upgraded the stock to an outperform rating with a $19 price target. “Our survey points to Qsymia as the obesity agent with the strongest efficacy,” Cowen wrote in note to clients. “We also view its retail pharmacy availability and recent board changes as strong positives for Vivus.”