Using UnitedHealth Group for Bulimia Treatment

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Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder in which a person binges on large quantities of food and then purges that food through vomiting or the use of laxatives. Some people with bulimia also have anorexia, a disorder characterized by avoiding food consumption or greatly limiting intake. It is estimated that as many as 24 million people have eating disorders.

If you or a loved one is bulimic, it’s imperative to get help as soon as possible. Call us today at to discuss treatment options and facilities in your area that are suited to your unique circumstances. If you are covered by a UnitedHealth Group insurance policy, guidance for treatment is provided by OPTUM, a product of United Behavioral Health.

UnitedHealth Group Bulimia Coverage

Using UnitedHealth Group for eating disorder treatment like bulimia involves working with your health care providers to determine the best protocol for your individual case and then following care guidelines established by United Behavioral Health through OPTUM. Five different treatment scenarios could be eligible for coverage, determined by medical need:

Once you have been diagnosed with bulimia, you will work with your team of health care professionals to design the best route to health. Many treatments involve a mixture of inpatient and outpatient care, sometimes phased to coincide with recovery milestones. Each case of bulimia is different, so each course of treatment will follow different steps. For more information on types of treatment for eating disorders and to seek treatment opportunities in your area, call one of our qualified representatives today at .

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Does UnitedHealth Group Cover Bulimia Nervosa Rehab Programs?

UnitedHealth Group insurance often covers treatment programs in a residential setting, which provides rehab for bulimia nervosa patients in need of high-level acute and continuing care. The coverage determination guidelines for residential treatment explain that this type of protocol is most appropriate for patients with worsening health who are in need of 24/7 care in order to monitor destructive behaviors and ensure progress.

United Behavioral Health also supports rehab-type residential programs in the case of a dual diagnosis with a co-occurring illness that would make managing bulimia treatment difficult or impossible in another setting. After stabilization in a residential setting, nutritional rehabilitation is one of the preferred methods of treatment for patients suffering from the most severe forms of bulimia.

Inpatient Treatment Length UnitedHealth Group Will Cover

The inpatient treatment length that UnitedHealth Group will cover for patients with bulimia depends upon the overall stability of their health and the availability of non-residential treatments. In general, OPTUM prescribes the least restrictive setting possible to ensure success and points to outpatient therapy as the most common protocol for bulimia. However, your individual medical needs may dictate an inpatient stay if:


Once you have been admitted to an inpatient treatment facility to treat your bulimia nervosa, medical necessity will determine the length of time covered by your UnitedHealth Group coverage. Established discharge guidelines provide that patients will not be released until stabilized and will typically be stepped down to lower levels of care, including outpatient treatments.

UnitedHealth Group Coverage for Bulimia Dual Diagnosis

In some cases, a patient with bulimia may also be diagnosed with a psychological disorder or a substance abuse problem. UnitedHealth Group coverage for bulimia patients with a dual diagnosis is available in a number of ways. The presence and severity of a co-occurring condition is part of the care determination guidelines for OPTUM’s inpatient, residential, outpatient, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment protocols. In general, if the disorder or substance abuse situation is already well managed or does not presently impact a patient’s bulimia, coverage may be approved for use in an outpatient or partial hospitalization program. However, if the co-occurring health issue is poorly controlled or has led to an overall lack of stability in health outside of the bulimia diagnosis, higher-level inpatient or intensive outpatient programs may be indicated for coverage.

Specialty Bulimia Treatments Using UnitedHealth Group

United Behavioral Health defines many different types of treatments for patients with bulimia. The treatment you receive will be based on the severity of the disease and the type of treatment program that is medically indicated. UnitedHealth Group may cover specialty bulimia treatments that have become conventionally accepted, are not experimental in nature, or have obtained necessary governmental approval.

The types of treatments a bulimia patient may have access to using UnitedHealth coverage, depending upon the care setting, include:

You and your loved ones will work with your medical team to design the best treatment options from these and other available therapies. To find help in treating an eating disorder, call us today.

How to Cover What Insurance Doesn’t Pay For

UnitedHealth Group offers many different types of health insurance policies through employers and self-pay options. Your policy will determine what financial responsibility you hold during the treatment of bulimia for yourself or your family member. The costs you may incur could include copayments and co-insurance amounts. If you have a policy with a high deductible, you may need to pay a certain amount out of pocket before coverage kicks in. With a traditional policy, you may have incremental amounts to contribute toward your overall care over time. In either case, your policy will likely carry an out-of-pocket maximum, limiting how much you will need to pay in any calendar year.

In addition, if you are covered by more than one policy, or if your UnitedHealth Group policy is supplemental to Medicare coverage, coordination of costs may enable lower out-of-pocket expenses. UnitedHealth Group provides a cost-of-care estimation tool through the MyUHC online portal, which patients can use to determine their portion of an overall bill.

Despite your coverage and the out-of-pocket maximum associated with your policy, you may be left with significant costs. Many patients are able to work with their health care providers to develop payment plans to cover these costs over a period of time. In addition, your employer may offer plans with health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts. These accounts enable you to set aside money from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis to cover qualified medical expenses. Medical expenses may also be tax-deductible, depending upon guidelines set out by the IRS.

Some local and state government agencies, as well as federal low-income programs, may be able to help with health expenses. enables United States citizens to locate programs that may be of help in their unique financial situations.

Verify Insurance Coverage and Find the Best Treatment Centers

When you or a family member is ready to seek treatment for bulimia, we can help. Our trained staff can connect you with vital resources in your area so you can begin treatment as soon as possible. Call us to discuss the options you may have and the steps you need to take to get started on your journey toward health. Dial to find the best treatment centers closest to you and get answers to any questions you may have.

To ensure that you can begin a bulimia treatment program right away, remember to verify your insurance coverage with UnitedHealth Group by dialing the number on the back of your card or using the contact information your employer or insurance agent has provided. The road to recovery starts today.