This probably doesn't come as news to anyone here, but I thought it was worth posting, as it specifically mentioned that the Thin documentary has brought this issue to a very public light.
Anorexia Patients Denied Adequate Coverage
A report recently came out stating that people with anorexia in the US need more help than they're getting from insurance companies.
Finding insurance coverage for mental health issues, especially eating disorders, can be difficult. Often the companies will pay for part of an inpatient stay, but rescind coverage when the individual reaches a healthy weight.
"It's like a drive-through McDonald's," said Lynn Grefe, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association. "The insurers restore weight, restore health and send you on your way, but they're not covering the real underlying problems." (ScienceDaily)
The HBO documentary Thin that was released in November of last year documented the struggles of several girls, inpatient at an eating disorders clinic. They gained confidence and strength while in the program, but unfortunately relapsed when they were released due to their insurance pulling out.
I struggled with anorexia for several years, and had to resort to inpatient treatment at one point. When I reached a weight of 98 pounds (at 5'4”) after being there a month, our insurance company refused to pay for any more treatment.
My father appealed to the insurance company, then the state – but the final bill ended up being more than $50,000.
Insurance companies need to realize that anorexia is not only about losing weight – the underlying issues may take some time to treat. Until the whole disease is treated – not just the weight aspect – people will continue to relapse.
Hopefully, as stories of denied coverage come to the light and get more press, insurance companies will change their strategies. Until then, we'll have to make the most of outpatient treatment.