What: Illinois HB 1432, which will strengthen the Illinois mental health insurance parity law by providing fair and equal insurance coverage for those suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia, will go before the Illinois State Senate on Tuesday, May 20, 2008. www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum= 1432&GAID=9&SessionID=51&LegID=30223#actions
When: Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Where: Senate Chambers, Illinois State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois
The Illinois State Senate Insurance Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to send legislation before the Illinois State Senate that could have life or death consequences for the citizens of Illinois.
Introduced by Rep. Fred Crespo (D-44th District), and sponsored in the senate by John Cullerton (D-6th District) and Heather Steans (D-7th District), HB 1432 will strengthen the Illinois mental health insurance parity law by providing fair and equal insurance coverage for those suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Originally passed through the Illinois House of Representatives on April 2, 2008, HB 1432 will be heard by the Illinois State Senate on Tuesday, May 20, 2008.
"We commend both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Senate Insurance Committee for understanding the importance of access to treatment for individuals with eating disorders," said James Gresham, CEO at Timberline Knolls, a nationally recognized treatment and recovery center. "Early and effective treatment of eating disorders is critical to recovery and prevents the need to treat the serious medical complications that can be associated with these disorders."
In the United States, as many as 10 million females and one million males are fighting a life and death battle with anorexia or bulimia, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness, nearly 12 times greater than that of any other cause of death among females between the ages of 15 and 24.
According to Kimberly Dennis, M.D., Medical Director at Timberline Knolls, eating disorders are biologically-based psychiatric illnesses and should have the same coverage as the serious mental illnesses currently covered by the Illinois mental health parity law. "It's extremely important that the Illinois State Senate recognize the importance of providing equal medical coverage to those suffering from eating disorders," said Dr. Dennis. "Anorexia and bulimia are real and very dangerous illnesses and without proper treatment, are often deadly."
Timberline Knolls urges the citizens of Illinois to contact their local state senator and show their support for House Bill 1432, ensuring that fair and equal insurance coverage for those suffering from anorexia and bulimia is available. For more information on House Bill 1432 please visit www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum= 1432&GAID=9&SessionID=51&LegID=30223#actions
I think the most important detail of the bill is the following:
"...Changes the definition of "serious mental illness" to include eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), as recognized by the most current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual..."