Insurance Coverage Difficult To Obtain For Certain Eating Disorders, Study Claims

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found more than 90 percent of patients with eating disorders not specifically defined (EDNOS) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders were sicker than patients diagnosed with bulimia.

Furthermore, the study noted that because they have trouble receiving treatment, insurance companies are less likely to cover their care, according to Dr. Rebecka Peebles of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“The diagnosis provides no meaningful information regarding the nature of the problem or appropriate treatment approaches,” Pamela Keel, a Florida State University professor, wrote.

The study observed 1,310 children and adolescents between the ages of 8 and 19.

Some 10 million women and 1 million men in the United States suffer from anorexia and bulimia, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. An additional 25 million people suffer from binge eating disorder, which falls under the EDNOS category. The EDNOS category can apply to anyone from an obese person who binges to a severely underweight person who nearly meets the anorexia criteria but continues to menstruate. It could even include a normal-weight person who purges.

"Some patients who are normal weight or even overweight are still very medically scary," Peebles wrote. "They are probably, I would expect, the highest risk to get missed in the community by either their physicians or their parents."

According to Keel, obtaining insurance coverage is a major problem because of the specific requirements surrounding eating disorder categorization. Some insurance companies claim that a patient only warrants in-patient care when they are below 75 percent of normal body weight. However, if a person weighs in just below that percentage, they could potentially be discharged from in-patient care at a delicate moment in recovery.

According to some experts, the problems associated with the EDNOS diagnosis could be solved after a republishing of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Source: CNN
Photo: Pixabay

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