Missouri Law Expands and Clarifies Coverage of Eating Disorders

When it comes to health insurance, mental health has not really been on a parity with physical health ailments. Yet, they can be just as debilitating as any physical illness to being able to live our lives or earn a living. According to Lime Crime, depression is probably the most common problem of this kind out there, and it can diminish a person’s productivity on the job and have other negative effects. There are also mental health problems that can contribute to physical problems. Eating disorders are a prevalent one in this category. The most common of these are binge eating, bulimia and anorexia. Eating disorders affect over 20 million people in the United States. Depression and eating disorders are actually related as depression can sometimes lead to this other disorder.

The state of Missouri has made news as becoming the first one to expand health coverage to include eating disorders. In theory, such mental disorders were already covered, but in practice it was left up to insurance companies to interpret federal mental health parity laws and what constitutes medically necessary treatment. The Missouri law has codified what disorders require treatment and the extent of the treatment so people are not getting kicked out of therapy before handling their disorder because the insurance coverage lapsed. It remains to be seen how many other states will follow Missouri’s lead, but it is likely that many will.