5 states considering adding weight loss drug coverage under Medicaid

At least five states are considering adding coverage of weight loss drugs to their Medicaid program, according to KFF's 2023 survey of state Medicaid directors. 

According to the survey published Nov. 14, 16 states covered at least one form of weight loss or anti-obesity drug as of July 1. The weight loss drugs covered do not necessarily include newer, more expensive GLP-1 drugs. At least three states — Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina — only cover Orlistat, an older form of weight loss drug. 

Medicaid directors in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Utah and Vermont indicated in their responses to KFF's survey they are considering adding coverage of weight loss drugs in Medicaid. 

GLP-1 drugs, which include Ozempic, Trulicity, Victoza and Mounjaro, are approved to treat Type 2 diabetes, though these drugs are prescribed off-label for weight loss. Wegovy and Saxenda, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, and Eli Lily's Zepbound are approved for weight loss. 

The drugs are expensive, costing upward of $10,000 a year without insurance. Federal law bars Medicare from paying for weight loss drugs. 

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