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Missouri Leading the Way to Better Insurance For Eating Disorder Patients

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In a move that may pave the way for patients with eating disorders to have better access to care, Missouri is the first state to spell out the types of treatments insurance companies must cover.

A new law, which will be effective in August, holds that health insurers will have to cover "medically necessary" treatments for both the mental and physical health of eating disorder patients.

The measure, writes Summer Ballentine from Associated Press, is "a move advocates say will ensure families have access to care for not just the physical aspect but also the underlying mental issues."

Closing a treatment gap

According to Kerry Dolan, head of the legislative advocacy program for the National Eating Disorders Association, the new law is the first of its kind to specifically define the treatments that have to be covered by insurance companies.

The idea of medical necessity ensures that patients will be evaluated by licensed eating disorder experts to determine if they still need help after a set period of treatment. In many cases, this decision is wrongly determined by a patient's weight.

Insurance companies will have until 2017 to change their policies, which Dolan said may help set into motion similar changes in other states.

Source: US News & World Report
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