Published On: September 28, 2023
Reviewed On: September 28, 2023
Updated On: September 28, 2023
Eating disorders are mental health conditions that severely impact physical and emotional well-being. Research shows that in the United States, an estimated 9% — that’s almost 29 million people — will struggle with an eating disorder like anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating at some point in their life. Unfortunately, many don’t get treatment due to the fear of treatment cost involved. Luckily, online therapy that takes insurance and programs that accept insurance are on the rise.
Does insurance cover eating disorder treatment, in general? It’s a question often asked when seeking help. Here, you’ll learn more about eating disorder insurance coverage, including what kind of coverage you should expect from different providers and where else you might find affordable therapy options.
Keep reading to learn more about eating disorders and insurance coverage.
If you’ve asked the question: does health insurance cover eating disorder treatment, the following information is important to understand.
Many insurance companies have plans that cover some or all the costs associated with eating disorder recovery, including a partial hospitalization program, access to treatment facilities, outpatient therapy sessions, medication management, and nutrition counseling.
However, coverage depends on plan type and can vary based on your insurance company provider. It’s always a good idea to check with your insurance carrier to determine exactly what’s covered under your policy.
There are several common roadblocks to getting help. Having a clear plan can help you overcome most of these obstacles.
If you’re wondering ‘does insurance cover therapy for eating disorders’, the answer depends on your specific policy and the type of therapy you need. As mentioned, most insurance plans will cover some form of psychotherapy or disorder counseling. This could include individual sessions with a therapist or group therapy sessions with other individuals struggling with similar issues. Some policies may also cover nutritional counseling as part of the overall treatment plan for an eating disorder.
If your insurance provider does not cover the treatment you need, know that there are also options for therapy without insurance.
Sometimes doctors prescribe medication to treat symptoms associated with an eating disorder — these drugs might be covered by insurance. However, that’s not always the case, so check your policy before filling a prescription.
If a medication for eating disorders isn’t covered under your current policy, you might have some alternative options. Generic brands or discount programs offered by pharmacies or drug manufacturers can reduce costs significantly.
In-patient treatment can be covered under certain insurance company policies. Your provider can tell you more about what to expect if you’re considering an in-patient program.
Determining if insurance covers your treatment plan can be so overwhelming that many people want to avoid it altogether. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to learn more about eating disorders and insurance coverage to ensure you get the care that you need.
First, contact your insurance provider directly to find out what type of health insurance coverage for eating disorders your plan offers. Ask about the mental health services they cover, including therapy and medication.
Most providers have an online portal or customer service line where you can ask questions about specific treatments and their associated costs. Be sure to inquire about any restrictions on certain types of therapies or medications.
Next, review your policy documents carefully to understand exactly what your plan covers. Pay close attention to any information about:
Make sure to note any exclusions in coverage so you know which treatments may not be eligible for reimbursement from your insurer.
Finally, talk with a qualified healthcare professional who specializes in treating eating disorders.
For example, you might seek a therapist or nutritionist before starting treatment. They can help you learn how things will be coded so you can ask your insurer specific questions about your coverage.
They also might be able to provide additional resources, like support groups or financial assistance programs that can help offset the cost of therapy and medication, even if you don’t have insurance.
Understanding your coverage is critical if you’re seeking treatment for an eating disorder. Knowing what’s covered means you can make an informed decision about which type of therapy or treatment is best for you.
Though many insurance company plans cover some forms of eating disorder treatment, there may be restrictions on certain types of care and services. If you have questions, reach out to your insurance provider to learn more.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, help is available. Don’t wait any longer — act now so you can work through this difficult time in your life and take back control over your relationship with food. If you’re ready to get started, consider seeking online therapy along with treatment for eating disorders.
It’s important to focus on what matters most — your recovery — rather than worrying about how you’ll afford to get the help you need.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Published February 6, 2023. Accessed February 3, 2023.
Hilbert A, Bishop ME, Stein RI, et al. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2012;200(3):232-237. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.089664. Accessed February 3, 2023.