Does Insurance Cover Treatment for an Eating Disorder?
Tens of millions of Americans experience an eating disorder at some point during their lifetimes. These severe diseases have the potential to affect every organ system and manifest in other physical ways. There is, however, hope: they are treatable.
Eating Disorder Helplines
There are several different eating disorder hotlines at your disposal. In particular, the National Eating Disorders Association offers several different ways you can reachone: via instant message, text message, or phone call. If you cannot reach one of the hotlines when you try to contact them, you can leave a message and they will get back to you. However, if you find yourself in crisis, you can always text “NEDA” to 741-741 to be connected with a trained volunteer.
Eating Disorder Treatment in New York City and Beyond
Eating Disorder Hope offers a very useful resource on their website: an interactive map which can connect you with eating disorder resources across the United States.
If you are located in New York City, there are several eating disorder clinics available to you. These include Monte Nido Manhattan, Sanctuary, BALANCE, as well as The Renfrew Center. Furthermore, The National Eating Disorders Association’s headquarters are located in New York; they provide services for individuals suffering from eating disorders as well as their loved ones. You can find more about New York City-specific eating disorder resources here.
Eating Disorder Treatment and Insurance
A common question would-be patients ask is whether or not insurance companies cover treatment for an eating disorder. The National Eating Disorders Association offers helpful information to help you navigate the often overwhelming and confusing process of seeking insurance coverage.
First of all, it is important to note that if you are attempting to seek treatment on behalf of a loved one who is over 18 years of age, you will have to obtain written permission from them to speak with the insurance company on their behalf. What exactly is required will depend on the insurance company; a customer care representative should be able to tell you what documents or steps are necessary.
While effective treatment of an eating disorder requires you to address both the physical and psychological aspects of your illness, many insurance companies separate mental health benefits from their physical health ones. Even though legally, mental and physical health must be covered in the same way, your mental health care may even be contracted under a separate company in its entirety, creating a confusing network of rules and the like.
A good place to start may be by obtaining a case manager, who is an individual at your insurance company that handles your (or your loved one’s) case. Having a case manager could streamline the process of contacting your insurance company with any questions or other coverage issues you are having; furthermore, they will become familiar with your case and help the process of decision-making. A case manager, however, does not necessarily have any prior experience with eating disorders, which may cause some of your claims to be outright approved or rejected. However, obtaining a case manager early in your treatment journey may help prevent coverage issues in the future; you should, however, prepare to be assertive, resolute, and rational when you explain your situation and the care you require when speaking with your cawse manager. You should also read your insurance plan’s full description, which is usually found on the company’s website. If you’re having issues understanding any portions of the plan, you can contact someone in human resources at the company that provides you with insurance. It is also incredibly important to document every contact you have with your insurance company, including the times and dates of any calls, the names and contact information of representatives you have spoken to, and what you talked about. You should also keep copies of any written correspondence you have had with the company.