Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Success for the EDC and the Field:

Representatives Kennedy and Baldwin Write Letter to HHS Supporting Eating Disorders Treatment
A letter was sent by Representatives Kennedy and Baldwin urging Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS, to require coverage for eating disorders treatment as part of the health care reform act that passed into law. 
People with mental illness more broadly and eating disorders specifically will benefit from expanded insurance access and treatment coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL111-148) signed into law by President Obama in March 2010.  The primary insurance overhaul measure includes benefits for people with mental illness who have lacked insurance coverage or whose insurance omitted or sharply limited coverage for mental illness treatment.  Provisions require
  • insurers to offer and renew insurance coverage for all who apply (no more denials for people with pre-existing illnesses);
  • prohibit health insurers from canceling coverage;
  • specify that premium rates in the individual and small-group market can vary only on the basis of tobacco use, age, family composition, and state-defined geographic rating areas;
  • allow adult children to remain on their parents' health policies until they turn 27 if they do not have access to a policy on their own.
  • HHS to identify high risk pools and to provide temporary coverage for people who have been denied insurance for preexisting conditions until the ban on insurance denials begins in four years.
A key component of the legislation requires new state health insurance exchanges that will serve as a marketplace to assist uninsured individuals and small employers in purchasing private health plans. All plans in the exchanges must offer the same minimum benefits package, which must include mental health services and substance use treatment. The law did not require any specific mental illnesses be covered. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS, is responsible for the implementation of this law.
The EDC has been working with Congress to make sure HHS includes eating disorders as part of the minimum benefits package.  Representatives Kennedy and Baldwin's letter to is one of the concrete outcomes of these efforts.
Click below to view the letter:

Jeanine Cogan, Ph.D., Policy Director
Eating Disorders Coalition

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