New Jersey Improves Access to Care!

By: 
NEDA Communications Team

New Jersey took a big step forward in addressing eating disorders this week when the School Employees Health Benefits Program Plan Design Committee voted unanimously to approve a program that requires coverage for the treatment of substance abuse issues, eating disorders and other mental health issues.

NEDA applauds Governor Chris Christie for his commitment to insurance coverage for individuals who suffer from mental illness and encourages him and the state of New Jersey to continue working to expand coverage to those on the State Health Benefits Plan as well.

This life-saving new coverage, which will take effect in 2014, is a major victory in the fight against eating disorders, but it is only one step on the path to comprehensive insurance coverage.

For more information, please see the full press release below:

NEDA Applauds New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for Step in Right Direction for Mental Health Parity

NEW YORK — August 26, 2013 — For Immediate Release —  The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) applauds New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his commitment to insurance coverage for individuals in the state who suffer from mental illness.

The School Employees Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) Plan Design Committee voted unanimously this week to approve a wellness program, requiring that the SEHBP cover the treatment of substance abuse issues, eating disorders and other mental health issues under the same terms as other diseases or illnesses. Coverage will begin when changes take effect in plan year 2014.

Commented Lynn Grefe, president & CEO of NEDA, “Lack of adequate insurance coverage puts many lives in jeopardy. We frequently hear from families without appropriate coverage who have been forced into severe financial hardship in a struggle to save a loved one’s life. We applaud Governor Christie and New Jersey for taking this first step toward implementing a pro-active solution for school employees and we look forward to seeing the same mental health parity in place for all state employees.”

The incidence of eating disorders in the U.S. is high, with a total of 30 million people suffering from a clinically significant eating disorder at some point in their life. Without proper treatment, up to 20 percent of people with serious eating disorders die.  With treatment, that number falls to two or three percent.

NEDA’s Solutions Through Advocacy and Reform (STAR) program has long been working on the front lines in Trenton, advocating for eating disorder coverage for state employees. This wellness program will help ensure that New Jersey residents who subscribe to the School Employees Health Benefits Program receive the care that they need, but it is only one step on the path to comprehensive insurance coverage.  NEDA encourages Governor Christie and the state of New Jersey to continue working to expand coverage to those on the State Health Benefits Plan as well.  Appropriate treatment for eating disorders will save lives.

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