David Beckham might be blessed with the best celebrity flat abs, but most ordinary mortals spend their entire lifetimes just trying to get into shape. Now, you might ask, what does U.S. health insurance have to do with reducing weight?

The silent epidemic taking over the United States is obesity. One in three Americans can be classified obese and the figures are expected to increase unless we drastically alter our lifestyles and diet. In this vein, it is common for people to seek treatment for obesity and related complications. Will they be covered by health insurance?

In cases of extreme obesity, procedures like liposuction may be performed to prevent later exposure to chronic heart disease and respiratory illness. Such surgery could be covered under health insurance policies as it is life-saving in nature. But any procedure done voluntarily to enhance physical appeal will not qualify.

The same logic holds good for cosmetic surgery. For example, reducing or enhancing breasts or reshaping body parts for aesthetic appeal will not qualify, but the same breast reduction may be covered if it is done to minimize excruciating back pain. It is wise to check with the insurance company before any such procedure is undertaken to get clarity on the issue.