How to pay for Anorexia Treatment?
Anorexia treatment can be expensive. For example, outpatient care can cost more than $100,000. Inpatient treatment can cost much more. Most insurance plans cover medical treatments, including nutritional support, and plans may also cover counseling services. But the coverage limits can vary dramatically from one plan to another. It is best to call the insurance company directly to find out more.
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Mental illness impacts the lives of 42.5 million people in the United States every year, per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
There are certain mental health disorders that are more common in individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol, and eating disorders fit into that category.
What Is Anorexia?Anorexia is a disorder that affects the body and a person’s overall health by distorting one’s sense of self-image. It inflicts sufferers with a compulsive desire to lose weight and, often, a total aversion to food, as well.
According to the American Psychological Association, around 8 million Americans suffer from eating disorders like anorexia. It affects people from all walks of life, but it is more common in women. The Office of Women’s Health notes 85-95 percent of all people battling anorexia are female. In addition, the disorder affects a large proportion of teenagers and young adults. Over 500,000 teenagers in the United States suffer from an eating disorder, per NBC News.
Red flags that signal the possibility of anorexia include:
- Overwhelming fear of weight gain
- Menstrual irregularities or absence
- Hair loss
- Excessive exercising
- Persistent dieting
- Caloric intake restriction or total refusal to eat anything
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports as many as 20 percent of individuals suffering with the disorder will die prematurely as a consequence of it.
When Addiction Contributes to Anorexia
Insurance Coverage for Treatment
While a chosen treatment center can provide guidance on coverage and costs an individual may be responsible for, one’s insurance company is the best resource for this information. Important questions to ask include:
- Is medical detox for substance abuse a covered benefit?
- Will coverage be applied for both inpatient and outpatient forms of care?
- Is nutritional counseling covered?
- For what duration is treatment covered, and how many trips to rehab are covered during a policy year?
- Is there a copay for services or medications?
- What is the policy’s deductible?
Traditionally, medical detox is carried out in a supervised manner in which clients are weaned off the substances they have been abusing, often with withdrawal symptoms treated with medication. There are no medications approved for the treatment of anorexia; however, medications may be prescribed to treat other mental health issues that contribute to anorexia or hinder treatment, such as benzodiazepines to treat the anxiety that many individuals experience related to eating.
Anorexia often warrants the need for inpatient or partially hospitalized care so treatment professionals can make sure the client is eating a balanced diet, or eating at all. Across the country, 835 facilities are available to treat clients with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues through partial hospitalization, per SAMHSA. Many of these facilities specialize in the treatment of eating disorders.
Some insurance companies only make payments toward outpatient care when substance abuse is the primary issue cited for treatment.
It’s important to clarify the need for tandem treatment of both anorexia and substance abuse or addiction to insurance companies and rehab clinics.
Disclaimer: AAC facilities do not treat anorexia.