Individuals who suffer from eating disorders often run into difficulties securing coverage from their health insurers for treatment, especially for residential care. Last year, ERISA lawyer Mark DeBofsky of DeBofsky Sherman Casciari Reynolds P.C. contacted Illinois State Representative Laura Fine and Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison with an idea to amend the Illinois Insurance Code to provide health insurance coverage for eating disorders in line with the mental health parity law. That idea ultimately became HB 1332, introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives by Representative Fine and in the Illinois Senate by Senator Morrison. Both houses of the Illinois General Assembly recently passed HB 1332 and it awaits signature by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner in order to become law.
HB 1332 Brings Eating Disorders in Line with Mental Health Parity Law
A patient who requires residential care to receive therapy and rehabilitation after undergoing surgery will likely receive those services. Group health insurance policies provide reimbursement for necessary care related for physical conditions. The idea behind the mental health parity law is to give individuals with mental health conditions similar respect. However, coverage for residential care related to eating disorders often falls through the cracks and claims for such necessary treatment are often denied.
Eating disorders affect up to 30 million people in the United States, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). Eating disorders are neither gender nor race specific and result in one death every 62 minutes.
Unfortunately, with the health insurance industry reluctant to provide appropriate coverage, legislation is vitally important to make it possible for individuals to receive effective medical treatment. Over the past few months, Illinois legislators have worked to make Illinois the second state in the country to address this vital issue. Missouri is the only other state that has expressly addressed eating disorders in group health insurance plans. Eating Disorder Bill, HB 1332, cleared the Illinois House on May 15. The bill passed through the Senate and sent to Governor Bruce Rauner on June 27. The bill is still awaiting the governor’s signature, as discussed in this video produced by ANAD, and public support is necessary to convince Governor Rauner to take the next step and sign HB 1332 into law.
Get Involved Today
To get involved in improving health care in Illinois today, please contact Governor Rauner to show your support for HB 1332. You can call or write to:
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706