About the Heads Up Program

The Office of Group Benefits (OGB) recognizes that obesity is a serious problem across the nation, and OGB members are no exception. Recent data indicate that the incidence of overweight and obesity in Louisiana's population is higher than the national average by 2-6 percentage points, depending on age. Notably, 14.4% of Louisianans are considered moderately obese, and 5.5% are considered severely obese. These high rates of obesity place Louisiana residents at higher risk for a number of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and more. To address this problem, OGB is offering a weight-loss program with two options for members who are obese: intensive medical intervention or bariatric surgery. Members who are covered by the Magnolia Local, Magnolia Local Plus, or Magnolia Open Access, all currently administered by Blue Cross, are eligible for either the intensive medical intervention or bariatric surgery option. Members who are covered by the Pelican HSA or Pelican HRA plan currently administered by Blue Cross are eligible only for the intensive medical intervention.

The intensive medical treatment option involves a lifestyle approach to assist participants in losing weight. Meal replacements will be used to assist participants in early weight loss. Participants will then learn behavioral strategies designed to change dietary intake and increase physical activity levels to support weight loss. These strategies have been effective in producing clinically significant weight loss.

The bariatric surgery options involve physically altering the stomach to facilitate weight loss. Participants will have to adhere to altered eating patterns following the surgery, including the types of foods eaten, portion sizes, and timing of meals. These are major surgical procedures, and therefore participants are at risk for the typical pre- and post-operative complications from surgery. The surgical options typically result in clinically significant weight loss.

To begin the first step in the screening process, just click the link below. You will be asked to enter some preliminary information regarding your OGB membership. The next step will be watching two short informational videos. After that, if you are eligible to continue and are still interested, you will complete a more extensive online questionnaire on this website. Prompts along the way will guide you through the steps and tell you where you are in the process.

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In recent years, an obesity epidemic has swept across the United States. Two out of three Americans over the age of 20 are considered overweight and one out of three are considered obese. Over 30% of Louisiana adults are considered obese which exceeds the national average.

There are several ways to determine if you are at risk for disease. One way is to assess your body weight by your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is a calculated number from your weight and height. It is used to screen for weight related health problems. Obese individuals are defined as those that have a BMI of ≥ 30 kg/m2 while morbidly obese individuals are those that have a BMI of ≥ 40 kg/m2. It is common for obese individuals to suffer from other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and increased risks for sleep apnea and cancer. Losing 5-10% of your weight can lower your chances for developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions associated with excess weight.

Previous research has shown that weight loss surgeries and lifestyle intervention programs can lead to weight loss and a reduction in disease risks.

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