Skip to Content

Insurers in CA May Now Pay for In-Patient Care for Eating Disorders

copyright free Gavel.png

A US court of appeals case may pave the way for more complete treatment for those requiring residential facility care for people with severe cases of eating disorders in California. They have overturned a case against a Blue Shield of California by Jeanene Harlick, an anorexic patient who was denied treatment by Blue Cross of California.

Mental health parity laws of the state came into play during the decision. California state law states that the same treatment provided for physical illness must also cover "medically necessary treatment of severe mental illness." Eating disorders such as Harlick’s, she was only 65% of her ideal weight, were considered severe enough by her medical doctor to require inpatient treatment.

"Given that Harlick's doctors believed that outpatient treatment was insufficient, that Harlick entered Castlewood at 65% of her ideal body weight, and that Harlick needed a feeding tube while at Castlewood, it seems likely that more than outpatient treatment was indeed necessary," the judges wrote in their ruling.