KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee is in the top 10 nationwide for the number of people considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are many whose doctors recommend lap band surgery or gastric bypass, and there are many who cannot afford it. That was the case for Dwayne Linger here in East Tennessee until he got help to navigate the insurance system and found a way to get healthy again.

A walk in the park is something Linger, 57, will never take for granted. Just 11 months ago, he was in no shape to walk for any length of time. 

He weighed 387 pounds. Now, he’s down 200, weighing in at 189.

Linger got back on the road to health after having lap band surgery. Like many, he worried he couldn’t afford it. Insurance agent Josh Humphries with Senior Financial Group found a way through what’s called LIS or Low Income Subsidy; MSP, the Medicare Savings Program; and enrollment in United Health Care’s Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan, which paid for the procedure Linger’s doctor said was necessary.

“He wasn’t going to make it to 65,” Humphries said. Now he can make it to 85 or 90 easy. He’s going to have more time with his family, kids, it’s going to change his life.”

Linger’s successful weight loss has improved his health so much, he ‘s off almost all of his medications.

“I was on oxygen 24/7, and everywhere I went I had to take my oxygen. I was on all different meds: heart medicine, cholesterol medicine, blood pressure medicine, and I no longer have to take those, ” Linger said. “I feel 100% better. A lot better. I am enjoying life. I’m enjoying what I’m doing.”

He also gets a kick out of showing off those size 5XL shirts he used to wear and marvels that he’s down three shoe sizes.

For more information, contact Senior Financial Group at 865-777-0153.