National Eating Disorders Association

American Medical Association Calls for Insurance Coverage for Eating Disorders

Parth Patel, Legislative Policy Intern

The American Medical Association voiced its support for “equal health care access and payment for eating disorders” in an announcement last week. The AMA acknowledged that, despite various federal laws requiring parity in coverage of eating disorders, many payers and health plans do not offer equal payment for eating disorders, barring many from receiving necessary health care. The AMA urged for parity in coverage while lamenting that treatment decision are so often made by insurance companies rather than health professionals.

This announcement reinforces the AMA’s already impressive history of supporting eating disorder treatment and positive body image. The AMA has urged for same-day payment for physical and behavioral treatment. It continually supports increased funding for research into eating disorder prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Furthermore, the AMA developed an online training course for the treatment of eating disorders which was the first of its kind.

The AMA’s support means a great deal to the National Eating Disorders Association and is instrumental to our policy initiatives: The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which would promote equal insurance coverage for eating disorder treatment, recently came out of committee in both the U.S. House and Senate and is one step closer to becoming law, and A1928 in the New Jersey Assembly, which would require insurers to cover the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders, was referred to committee earlier this year. The AMA’s press release could help bring these bills into law by providing a strong message to legislators that the equal treatment of eating disorders is supported not only by health care consumers but by providers as well.