Health insurers should cover treatment of all eating disorders, a Queens lawmaker says

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A Fresh Meadows-based lawmaker has authored legislation that would expand insurance coverage for an illness that affects 30 million Americans.

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic’s legislation, which has passed in the Assembly, expands New York State’s definition of an eating disorder to provide fuller insurance coverage to treat the illness.

Currently, only anorexia and bulimia are covered by insurance in New York, according to the lawmaker. The bill would expand the definition of an eating disorder to include other forms, including pica, rumination disorder, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

According to data provided by Rozic’s office, 30 percent of girls and 16 percent of boys in American high schools suffer from disordered eating. Eating disorders also have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

With treatment for eating disorders costing upwards of $30,000 a month, Rozic said, it is “high time” that New York State redefine, expand and provide full insurance coverage for the illness.

“Eating disorders are highly treatable, especially if a person seeks treatment early,” Rozic said. “I am proud to have championed this crucial, life-saving legislation.”

Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), spoke in support of the lawmaker’s move.

“NEDA is so grateful to Assemblywoman Nily Rozic for her leadership and to the entire New York State Assembly for addressing this gap in coverage for eating disorders,” Mysko said. “While eating disorders are serious mental illnesses, recovery is possible with appropriate treatment. We frequently hear from families who have been forced into financial hardship due to a lack of appropriate insurance coverage. We hope to see this bill pass the State Senate this month to ensure that all New Yorkers struggling with eating disorders have access to the care they need.”

“Eating disorders are real, complex, devastating conditions that affect health, productivity and families across New York,” Rozic said.

Rozic’s bill is sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Kathy Marchione. To learn more, click here.

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