Missouri Is the First State to Expand Eating Disorder Treatment

by Elizabeth Ollero

Missouri is making great changes: Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill explicitly stating the types of eating disorder treatments insurance companies must provide. For those of you who haven’t been affected by eating disorders in your life, either suffering yourself or watching a loved one suffer, insurance companies followed vague terms in regards to eating disorders – and mental health coverage in general – resulting in a disparity between necessary treatment and provided treatment.

The frustrating thing about eating disorders is that they can be difficult to measure. They’re both physical and psychological. You can’t measure them in weight, organ function, or eating patterns. It takes more to treat them than just a rigid meal plan. It’s because of this (plus the fact that eating disorders aren’t always taken seriously…) that guidelines for insurance companies are so vague. Proper treatment can easily slip through the cracks, leaving patients and their families with a continuing disorder and ridiculous bills to pay.

No longer in Missouri, though! Health insurers will be required to cover “medically necessary” mental and physical treatment of eating disorders provided by licensed experts.  Reaching a healthy weight no longer determines whether you will continue to receive coverage for treatment, because reaching a healthy weight doesn’t mean you’ve recovered from your eating disorder. Before (and still, in all other states), insurance companies would end treatment prematurely before a patient could reach recovery, or so that they relapsed shortly after. Now, patients must achieve recovery, mentally and physically, before insurance can end coverage for treatment.

This truly is fantastic news for patients and families – currently only 1 in 10 sufferers of eating disorders receive treatment. Weight loss or gain are not the only results of eating disorders. Muscle loss, osteoporosis, heart failure, severe dehydration, tooth decay, and even death are some of the severe consequences. Hopefully, Missouri is setting the precedent for other states for insurance coverage of eating disorders.

Images via Precision Nutrition

Read more at BUST.com:

Coming Full Circle with Fat Phobia, Anne Wilson & Self Hatred

5 Theories Explaining Why Low Self-Esteem is a Teen Epidemic

Artist Promotes Body Acceptance Beautifully by Inserting Herself into Photoshopped Ads

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