Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Eating disorder lawsuits

We all know that insurance coverage for eating disorders is virtually non-existent or better put that we are often denied the coverage we really need and deserve. Last week, it was reported that the insurance company Aetna had settled their class action lawsuit among a number of eating disorder families. The Meiskins were the first to file the lawsuit in NJ, and 100 other families were listed thereafter. Aetna agreed to pay seven years worth of denied coverage to these families. Both parties have agreed to the settlement, but a judge still has to approve it. Let's hope he does. If it is approved, it really is quite a big victory for those with eating disorders who have had to battle insurance companies for treatment. Article here

Also to note, the Meiskins were featured back in 2007 on the TLC show ."Shalom in the Home." If you've never seen the show, Rabbi Schmuley uses mostly a family based approach to help his clients. His approach is centered on looking at the family as a whole and helping them rebuild relationships. I'm not sure the show is airing now, but I think there are other available videocasts you can download from the site.

Another class action case, also based in NJ, is with the insurance company, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. The family of Janelle Smith say that the insurance company discharged Janelle when she was not healthy enough to be released. Within days of being discharged, she committed suicide.

Their lawsuit wants eating disorders to be covered like any other biologically based mental illness. The insurance company has supposedly agreed to reimbursing the Smiths The case goes to court this month. Article here


It'll be interesting to see how this case turns out. So far 13 states have mental health parity laws which allows eating disorders to be covered like any other mental illness. I'm hoping with more cases like this and the convincing literature on genetics and biological components to eating disorders, it will bring bring about even more change. Hopefully, these small victories will turn out to become large ones. After all, sometimes change is slow, but with persistence, it can happen.

No comments: