SC insurance to cover obesity surgery next year

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Obese government workers in South Carolina can get stomach-shrinking surgery through the state health plan under a pilot program that starts in January.

The state director for employees' insurance program said Thursday the pilot will pay for the surgery for 100 people statement on a first-come, first-serve basis. The plan will cover gastric-bypass or Lap-Band surgery for people who qualify.

Lawmakers required the trial program and set aside more than $2 million for it in the budget. They told the Budget and Control Board to create it as part of workers' benefits plan for 2011, which the board approved Thursday.

Results will be studied to see if the surgeries lead to overall health savings.

Almost two-thirds of South Carolina's residents are considered overweight or obese.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.