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Eating Disorders: What To Tell ED Treatment Decision-Makers

Eating Disorders: What To Tell ED Treatment Decision-Makers

When you have an eating disorder, you need to know what to tell an eating disorder treatment decision-maker. After all, having an eating disorder sucks and being worried about affording, or being denied eating disorder treatment, adds to the suckiness. During my stay at an inpatient facility, one of the girls threw up blood, and still, her insurance kicked her out after 11 days. Another girl with anorexia was there before I arrived and stayed after my release. To insurance companies, people are words on a page. They don’t know us. Even if they saw a picture, they might think we’re fine when we’re not. What they don’t know, is that just because we don’t look like a skeleton, it doesn’t mean we’re not at risk of dying. Here’s what eating disorder treatment decision-makers need to know.

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What I Wish Insurance Companies Knew About Eating Disorders

What I Wish Insurance Companies Knew About Eating Disorders

There are a lot of things I wish insurance companies knew about eating disorders, but the reality is, the people who are deciding whether or not to pay for our treatment are not doctors. They are case managers, people whose first priority is to make the company money. If they can reasonably deny your claim, they will. And to be perfectly honest, this makes me unbelievably angry. A friend of mine just had her insurance deny her coverage and had to leave a treatment center unexpectedly. I am livid. Our eating disorder minds will play plenty of tricks on us if our insurance refuses to cover treatment, but let me make two things abundantly clear: if insurance denies you treatment, it does not mean that you are not sick, and it does not mean that you do not deserve to get better. Here’s what I wish insurance companies knew about eating disorders.

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See? I Told You My Eating Disorder Isn’t A Big Deal

See? I Told You My Eating Disorder Isn’t A Big Deal

In a lot of ways, the eating disorders section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders improved drastically in the 2013 edition (the DSM-5). Binge eating was given its own diagnosis, finally allowing millions of Americans to hear the “me too” of not being alone in their struggle. People were finally able to see that they were sick (and stop shaming themselves), which is a huge step in the road to healing. Unfortunately, I can’t consider all of the changes in this most recent edit as progress.

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Eating Disorder Treatment and Insurance Companies

Eating Disorder Treatment and Insurance Companies

One of the most frustrating things about having an eating disorder and attempting recovery is dealing with insurance companies. To be honest, I know of very few people who have had a truly positive experience with their insurance companies. This goes for all levels of eating disorder treatment: outpatient, partial hospitalization, residential, and inpatient. If you’re lucky, your eating disorder treatment team will fight for you to get the insurance coverage you need. If you’re not lucky, you may be doing it on your own.

While I might one day do an article later about how to deal with your insurance company and fight for the eating disorder treatment you need, today is not that day. Today’s post is borne out of pure frustration.

Why Won’t Insurance Companies Pay For Eating Disorder Treatment?

Open Letter to Insurance Companies

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