*******ACTION ALERT!!! Deadline: Friday, May 3, 2013!!*******
**EVEN IF YOU AREN’T PERSONALLY IMPACTED BY EATING DISORDERS, PLEASE MAKE TWO PHONE CALLS TODAY IN ORDER TO MAKE A HUGE DIFFERECNCE in the lives of those who do suffer these deadly, but treatable, disorders!**
Contact your Senator and ask them to sign on to the below letter that was initiated by Senator Tammy Baldwin in order to provide clarifications in the final MHPAEA rules. This will enable Americans with eating disorders to have greater access to care. We have 8 Senators signed onto the letter so far!! Deadline is Friday!
To find your Senators, go to: www.senate.gov
here is the letter:
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Bldg.
200 Independence Ave, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius,
Thank you for your commitment to promulgating final rules for the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). As you finalize the rules, we urge you to provide further clarity in a way that will provide Americans with eating disorders with greater access to life-saving care.
Approximately 14 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder, according to the national Eating Disorders Coalition. Eating disorders can be successfully and fully treated to remission. However, only one in ten Americans with an eating disorder currently receives treatment. Passage of MHPAEA was a promise to people with mental disorders—including eating disorders—that necessary treatment would become more readily available to them. Yet many people with eating disorders are still regularly being denied health insurance coverage of life-saving services. These denials of coverage include common and essential types of treatments such as residential inpatient care and limits on the scope and duration of treatment. We believe that making two clarifications in the final MHPAEA rules will increase health insurance coverage of eating disorder treatments, improve access to care, and ultimately save lives.
First, individuals with eating disorders have consistently been denied coverage for residential inpatient care because it has been construed by health plans as having no “medical analogy.” We question this interpretation of MHPAEA. When an insurance plan refuses to cover a mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) service because there is no medical/surgical analogue, the plan violates MHPAEA if it does not likewise refuse to cover medical/surgical benefits that have no MH/SUD analogue. We ask you to provide specific guidance on the issue of “medical analogy” to affirm that this type of coverage denial is prohibited.
Second, Americans with eating disorders have been denied important care because some insurance plans have not paid for a similar range and scope of services for behavioral treatments as they do for medical treatments. This denial of coverage has occurred even though MHPAEA prohibits limitations on the scope or duration of treatment under the MH/SUD benefit that are more restrictive than those imposed under the medical/surgical benefit. We urge you to reinforce in the final rules that plans may not apply limits to the scope of treatment for eating disorders and other substance use disorders any more restrictively than in the medical/surgical benefit.
We appreciate your attention to these matters. It is our belief that providing these clarifications in the final MHPAEA rules will provide Americans with eating disorders with greater access to care, and will remain consistent with congressional intent.