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Insurance Companies to Provide Better Coverage for Eating Disorders

health insurance companies and eating disordersIt’s tough to fight and treat an eating disorder. Even if you’re seeking professional help and you’ve found a reputable doctor, you still have to be able to afford treatment. An estimated 11 million Americans suffer from eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, but only a small percentage of those people get help, and even a smaller number of those people have insurance that will help them pay for their treatment.

Following a legal decision that was passed in California in 2010, insurance companies are now required to provide coverage for mental health just as they do for physical health. The ruling applies to companies that have more than 50 employees and utilize group healthcare, which means that many more Americans will have access to coverage in regards to eating disorders.

In the past decade, many states have enacted rulings to help those dealing with eating disorders. In 2008, the federal government followed suit. Generally, laws that have been passed require that mental and behavioral disorders be treated just like physical ailments. While a ruling in California only affects residents residing in the state, it could have a ripple effect seen throughout the country. States like New Jersey require insurance to pay for residential eating disorder treatment, but only for a limited number of days. But rarely will that be enough, since treating an eating disorder can take weeks or months.

Anorexia and bulimia have higher mortality rates of any other mental disorder. With only about 60% of insurances currently covering those disorders, many people are turned away from treatment even if they seek help. Whether you have an HMO plan or a PPO, it’s important to know what mental health benefits your insurance offers.

If you do seek treatment, the facility you choose can assist you by clearly outlining what your benefits cover and what your recovery plan might entail. Many treatment centers will work closely with your insurance provider, but all too often, insurance companies will be hesitant to provide the necessary amount of mental health benefits. Legal decisions like the one passed in California offer hope that insurance companies will eventually be required to help those with eating disorders get the long-term treatment that they need.

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