FOOD FOR THOUGHT
the reason insurers won’t pay for treatment of "non-biological"
illnesses such as eating disorders is that these illnesses are seen as
"the patient’s fault" — indicative of a lack of character or willpower
["Into Thin Air,"
News and Features, March 11]. But many "biological" illnesses can
result from smoking, bad diet, and lack of exercise. In fact, simple
guidelines exist for reducing the risk of biological illnesses via
healthy living; no such guidelines exist for reducing the risk of
mental illness. So if insurers cover physical illnesses to which the
patient may have contributed, they should certainly cover mental
illnesses, over which the patient has much less control.
Princeton, New Jersey
a comprehensive and important article — thank you so much for putting
this issue out there in such a clearly written and informative piece.
Debbie Franko, PhD
would like to thank Deirdre Fulton for her sensitive and excellent
article spotlighting my daughter’s personal struggle to recover from
severe anorexia, and highlighting the critical health-insurance changes
needed to ensure that the best treatments are available and affordable.
Above all, insurers need to recognize that "real life" recovery often
requires intense and lengthy treatment to allow time for therapy and to
reinforce healthy coping skills — rushing patients out of treatment as
soon as they become medically stable only guarantees they’ll be
admitted again and again, adding to health costs and their recovery
progress. Although I was very aware of the parity act, Fulton’s update
on recent insurance-lobbying progress was welcome news to me! I will
certainly find out how to add my voice to the revived lobbying efforts.
Please accept our gratitude for helping to raise awareness and for giving my daughter a chance to add her voice.