Using Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association for Eating Disorder Treatment
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a federation of 38 insurance providers and companies in the United States. This federation provides insurance to over 99 million Americans and offers some form of insurance in every state of the union. More hospitals and providers accept Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association insurance than any other brand. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association offers a multitude of different plans on both an individual and employer-sponsored basis. If you are using Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association insurance for eating disorder treatment, this guide will provide you with valuable information regarding treatment options.
Studies show that around 8 million Americans have some form of eating disorder. Although eating disorders are commonly thought to only affect women, about 10 to 15 percent of these sufferers are male. There are three main types of eating disorders:
- Anorexia nervosa. This type of eating disorder is characterized by excessive dieting and exercise. Anorexia nervosa can sometimes progress to the point of dangerous starvation. Symptoms of this disorder include refusal to eat, a distorted self-image, preoccupation with food, a fear of gaining weight and social withdrawal.
- Bulimia nervosa. This type is characterized by cycles of overeating, or binging, followed by purging or using other means to rid the body of calories. Patients with bulimia are often at a normal weight or even overweight. Symptoms of this disorder include self-induced vomiting, laxative use, damaged teeth, sores in the mouth and low self-esteem.
- Binge eating disorder. This type of eating disorder is characterized by an excessive amount of eating. Patients with this disorder may be of a normal weight, overweight or obese. This is the most common type of eating disorder. Symptoms of this disorder include eating until the point of discomfort, eating alone and eating much faster than normal during an episode.
- Eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). This is a catchall category for eating disorders that do not meet the criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Binge eating disorder falls into this category, as does any other clinically significant disorder, such as night eating syndrome, purging disorder or atypical presentations of anorexia and bulimia.
An eating disorder can feel overwhelming, but it is not too late to start on the road to a healthier life. Call our representatives today at . We are available 24/7 to take your call.
Using Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association for Eating Disorder Treatment
As the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association offers a multitude of plans, you will need to check your specific plan for details, but generally, it is not necessary to get a referral from your primary care physician to see a mental health professional. It is always recommended to keep your primary care physician up to date regarding your health status. Make sure that the provider you choose is within your plan’s network. You can use the customer service phone number, found on the back of your ID card, for help finding a provider and assistance in learning about the specifics of what your plan will cover.
If you are experiencing an emergency, such as being unable to care for yourself, or if you are having thoughts of suicide, go directly to the emergency room and notify your primary care physician and insurance provider when you are able to do so.
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Will Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Cover Eating Disorder Treatment?
Most Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association insurance coverage plans will include all treatments deemed medically necessary. Be sure to find out the details of treatments that are covered, and make sure that you are aware of any deductibles and copays that you are responsible for. It is imperative that you know what the limits of your coverage are before you start planning a course of treatment.
Treating an eating disorder usually requires a multipronged approach, incorporating several types of treatment with a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals. Some of the treatments you can expect include any and all of the following.
- Therapy. Therapy is the most important part of any eating disorder treatment plan. In therapy, the patient can learn to manage the urges to control food intake, learn new problem-solving strategies to deal with stressful situations, and learn to have a realistic body image. Family therapy is useful when dealing with adolescents or children with eating disorders. Group therapy may also be helpful.
- Medication. There isn’t any medication that can cure an eating disorder, but psychoactive medications are useful in controlling urges, treating any coexisting mental disorders and calming anxiety that may trigger a relapse. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may be used.
- Nutritional counseling. Nutritional education is a valuable part of any eating disorder treatment plan. Because the patient has a distorted relationship with food, education is necessary to teach healthy eating habits. Patients will learn how to plan healthy meals and appropriate portion sizes.
- Medically supervised weight management. Patients who are severely overweight or underweight may benefit from medically supervised weight management. An eating disorder can cause severe and even life-threatening damage to the body, so it is important for a return to a healthy weight to be supervised by a doctor to avoid further damage.
How Much Will Eating Disorder Treatment Cost?
Eating disorder treatment can be expensive but may vary greatly in price depending on how severe the disorder is. Inpatient treatment of an eating disorder can range from $500 to $2,000 per day, with the average cost of a month’s stay being around $30,000. With individuals needing anywhere from three to six months of care, treatment can be expensive. Outpatient care is usually more affordable, but continuing therapy and monitoring can reach prices up to or over $100,000. Consult with your doctor and treatment facility to find out exactly how much your course of treatment is expected to cost.
Eating disorder treatment comes at such a high price because most treatment plans require a group of medical professionals from several different specialties working together. You can expect any or all of the following types of medical professionals to be involved in your treatment.
- Medical doctor. Because eating disorders take a toll on the body as well as the mind, a medical doctor will often help stabilize the patient at the start of treatment and follow the patient’s progress and health throughout the course of treatment.
- Psychologist. A psychologist specializes in providing therapy. This medical professional will teach you new ways to cope with stressful situations and help to remedy distorted body image and low self-esteem issues.
- Psychiatrist. A psychiatrist can prescribe medication to control urges and anxiety and will also help to treat any coexisting mental health issues that may be present.
- Dietician. A dietician is a valuable resource for someone recovering from an eating disorder. A dietician can provide meal plans and nutritional counseling that will help the patient fix the distorted relationship with food.
- Social worker. A social worker can help you to navigate all your treatment options and coordinate care.
When you are struggling with an eating disorder, you may feel like there is no hope, but we can help. Call today, anytime day or night, and our representatives can help you get on the road to a healthier and more fulfilling life by finding help in treating eating disorder issues.
Inpatient Eating Disorder Treatment vs. Outpatient Services
Upon first seeking treatment, patients may need to spend time in a hospital until their condition is medically stabilized. Eating disorders can cause numerous physical issues, including dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, dangerously irregular heart rhythms, and cardiac and kidney damage. When these issues have stabilized, a course of treatment should be decided upon. The choices are inpatient or outpatient treatment, or some combination of both.
Inpatient treatment is often the first choice for severe eating disorders. During inpatient treatment, the patient will live in a residential treatment facility for 30, 60 or 90 days and get all care from this centralized location. The patient can be closely monitored and will receive one-on-one attention. This setting is very structured and allows the patient time away from the stresses of everyday life to focus on beating their disorder.
Outpatient treatment involves the patient receiving treatment several times a week while remaining at home between sessions. The program can vary in frequency depending on the needs of the patient. This type of program is often a better choice for those with responsibilities, such as work, children or school, and cannot afford to be away for months at a time.
Dual Diagnosis Eating Disorder Therapy
Many patients with eating disorders also present with coexisting conditions. It is imperative that these issues also be treated alongside the eating disorder. If the eating disorder developed as a way to cope with the symptoms of some other condition, recovery will not be possible without first dealing with the root of the problem. Depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance abuse issues are the most common disorders seen in conjunction with an eating disorder. Be sure that your mental health team is also evaluating you for coexisting conditions when you are planning your course of treatment.
Insurance vs. Private Pay for Eating Disorder Options
It is important to be clear on how your treatment will be paid for when planning your course of treatment. Some people choose to pay privately for their treatment because they are concerned about privacy or wish to stay in a treatment program not covered by insurance. If you do not have the means to pay for treatment and your insurance doesn’t cover the full cost, there are still several courses of action that you can pursue. Many facilities offer payment plans that will allow you to spread out the cost of treatment over a long period of time. Some places have scholarship programs for those in need, while others will lower the cost of treatment on a sliding scale based on your family income.
Only about 1 in every 10 people with an eating disorder ever receives treatment. Don’t let an eating disorder take over your life. Call today. Our representatives can guide you through treatment options and help you to navigate your Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association insurance plan. Remember, the sooner an eating disorder is treated, the better the prognosis, so call today.