Your generosity is what makes our efforts in the battle against eating disorders possible. Donate or volunteer today!
Paying for Treatment
Unfortunately, eating disorders are very costly to treat, and many people have difficulty working with their insurance companies. Others have no insurance and lack the financial resources to pay for treatment. Because The Elisa Project believes that no one should be prevented from getting the treatment they need, we offer information to help you navigate through legal and insurance issues.
Some insurance companies are far more likely to pay out for physical illnesses than mental ones. This means that it can be hard to find insurance that covers eating disorders and, with the cost of treatment often high, this can unfortunately discourage people from seeking help. The situation has improved over the last decade, with many organizations lobbying for changes in the law and some insurance companies being forced to recognize eating disorders as legitimate illnesses that need treatment.
Medicaid & Medicare Insurance
Although many hospitals and treatment facilities accept Medicare and/or Medicaid, they may not have staff members with experience in treating eating disorders. If the treatment center is a mental health facility, check whether it is partly funded by county, state or federal funds. If it is, you can sometimes ask that the relevant care be provided.
What If I Don’t Have Health Insurance?
Treatment programs do exist for people who have no money or benefits, but they are often hard to locate. Many therapists offer a sliding scale fee for those who have difficulty paying or do not have insurance. Some agencies that receive public funds do provide treatment, and sometimes that treatment is outstanding.
There are also other options available if you do not have insurance, such as counseling centers at work, school or community facilities. Psychiatry departments in medical schools may also offer low cost treatment for eating disorders or could refer you to a place that does.
Some hospitals and universities run free research programs from time to time. These are beneficial to the patient, who receives free treatment, and also to the facility which gains a further insight into eating disorders and possible programs for the future.
Other resources on how to afford appropriate treatment:
- An excellent tool for patients and their families about how to afford treatment is the Eating Disorders Survival Guide
- A resource to assist those struggling with an eating disorders receive appropriate insurance coverage for the treatment they require is Eating Disorders Treatment Help: A Toolkit
- Another resource in for working with insurance companies is Insurance Issues.
- If you require treatment and have no medical insurance, the Foundation for Health Coverage Education can help determine whether you or someone you know is eligible for free or low-cost health coverage.