National Eating Disorders Association
Blog

"Denied" - A Story About Insurance Companies and Mental Health

Caitlin Hamilton, Media & Communications Manager

In a story about the complex world of mental health and insurance, called “Denied,” 60 Minutes anchor, Scott Pelley interviewed Nancy West. Nancy, who is a friend of NEDA, shared the tragic story of her daughter Katherine’s death as a result of complications from an eating disorder.

Katherine’s doctors had prescribed 12 weeks of intensive inpatient treatment, but the insurance company denied her coverage after only six weeks. A reviewer from the insurance company found that Katherine should leave the hospital because she had put on enough weight. But her doctor warned that she was not ready to leave. 

We’ve heard this kind of story far too often. Getting a patient to a medically healthy weight is absolutely critical for recovery, but it is an insufficient indicator of when a patient is stable enough to leave treatment. It’s time that insurance companies respect the treatment recommendations of doctors, rather than leaving these life and death decisions to reviewers who never even meet the patient.

Advocating on behalf of patients to get them the treatment they need is one of NEDA’s highest priorities. We do this by educating families and individuals, providing resources and form letters, and by voicing our concerns to policymakers about access to care on both the local and national levels. 

To watch the entire “Denied” segment online, visit the 60 Minutes website. And, a special thank you to Nancy for her eloquence and courage to speak out on behalf of so many others who have also been “denied.” 

For more information on how to navigate insurance issues, please visit our Insurance Resources page

To get involved with NEDA’s legislative work in fighting for insurance reforms, please contact Kerry Dolan at star@myneda.org