Eating Recovery Center has announced that its comprehensive eating disorders treatment programs are now an in-network provider for patients insured by United Behavioral Health. Effective May 2, the insurance contract with United Behavioral Health removes this critical barrier to treatment for hundreds of patients and families seeking specialized care from Eating Recovery Center's renowned experts each year.
"Affordability is critical when exploring eating disorders treatment options," explains Ken Weiner, MD, FAED, CEDS, founding partner and chief executive officer of Eating Recovery Center. "Contracting with United Behavioral Health improves access to and affordability of industry-leading treatment for millions of American women, men and children struggling with these complex and potentially deadly mental illnesses."
In addition to United Behavioral Health, Eating Recovery Center's insurance contracts include Aetna, Beech Street, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana/Lifesynch, PHCS Multiplan and Value Options.
While identifying in-network eating disorders treatment options can be an important first step in securing treatment, patients and families can take other measures to be their own advocate when seeking to understand their insurance coverage. Additionally, referring professionals may find these tips helpful when guiding patients into a treatment program.
1) Read the "fine print" in your benefits plan. Mental health coverage varies by insurance provider, and even by benefits program and group. Thorough investigation into a plan can lead to stronger coverage related to length of stay and levels of care. For example, insurance benefits often differ for outpatient versus inpatient care. Work with the treatment provider to ensure that insurance benefits -- at every level of care -- are thoroughly understood and applied accordingly to ensure maximum benefit.
2) Research mental health parity laws. Though specific laws vary by state, mental health parity laws dictate that patients with biologically based mental illnesses, including eating disorders, have a legal right to coverage. Because insurance companies provide broad health benefits, case managers may need assistance navigating the "ins and outs" of different laws that impact patient coverage for eating disorders treatment.
3) Let the treatment center's business office advocate and negotiate on your behalf. Evaluating insurance coverage and financial obligation, especially when seeking treatment for a mental health issue, is notoriously complex. Most eating disorders treatment centers have teams of experts that are skilled in identifying benefits, communicating with insurance providers and championing for treatment coverage when appropriate and necessary.
"Navigating the broad spectrum of available eating disorders treatment options can be overwhelming for patients, families and referring professionals alike. Upon finding the treatment program that best fits their needs, securing the financial resources to make it work often represents another hurdle," continues Dr. Weiner.
"While research, education and awareness can empower individuals in conversations with insurance providers, the guidance, insight and advocacy an effective treatment center business office can provide is invaluable in accessing eating disorders treatment."