Collins and Fassler explained that despite the parity law and the Affordable Care Act, not all insurance policies cover comprehensive treatment for eating disorders.
“Why do we need a full spectrum of ED treatment covered by insurance? Because EDs are treatable, but we’re not doing it," Collins said. "Yes, eating disorders are treatable brain disorders. They are not a ‘problem with food’ or a weight issue. They are not a choice by the patient nor are they caused by bad parenting or size 0 models. They are a treatable problem with the brain. Untreated, or treated inadequately, eating disorders maim and kill. When my daughter became ill, I learned for the first time that my dear 14-year-old girl had a 1-in-10 chance of dying of her anorexia—1 in 10.
"What I didn’t know then was that newer treatments can have far higher rates of recovery in a much shorter timeframe. Others need more. But few were getting any. We need insurance coverage to save lives: early intervention and access to care across settings works....The current situation for American families facing a newly diagnosed eating disorder is grim. We face a revolving door of emergency care instead of access to the care needed early on. We second-mortgage homes, drain retirement, but more often simply don’t pursue care due to financial constraints—for a treatable problem. These patients are not dying of their disorder; they are dying from lack of access and lack of coordination."
For more information, see the Psychiatric News article "Eating Disorders May Pose Greater Risk in Type 1 Diabetes" and Developing an Evidence-Based Classification of Eating Disorders: Scientific Findings for DSM-5, published by American Psychiatric Publishing.
(Image: Mark Moran)