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 Bulimia Resource Guide Summary
 Bulimia Nervosa Resource Guide for Family and Friends
 Maximizing Health Insurance Benefits to Pay for Bulimia Treatment
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Insurance Benefits Checklist
The state that a patient lives in can greatly affect the level of mental health benefits available through an insurer in that state, so it's worth checking the provision in a patient's state of residence.

  • Get organized; prepare to be persistent, assertive, respectful and rational.
  • Read the patient's complete health insurance policy to understand the contracted benefits.
  • Get a log book to document all conversations with insurers and care providers; record names, dates, and notes about all conversations.
  • Call the insurer to discuss benefits options and find out about levels-of-care criteria the patient must meet for eligibility.
  • Ask insurer what authorizations are needed to access care that will be reimbursed.
  • Assist the patient in obtaining a full psychological and physical assessment from qualified providers experienced in treating bulimia nervosa.
  • Communicate with key caregivers to devise a treatment plan, identify the names of the key caregivers and their roles, define communication expectations for progress reports.
  • Obtain letters of support for the treatment plan from caregivers that you can show to the insurer as needed.
  • Present the treatment plan to the insurer.
  • Enlist support from other family members or friends; find out how and when they are available to help.
  • Assist the patient in entering treatment.
  • Follow up about insurance once treatment begins to ensure reimbursement is occurring.
  • If claims are denied for treatment, you may wish to file an appeal using the documentation you have collected, and make your argument reasonably. If an initial appeal is denied, you may wish to file at the next level. Treatments that have some clinical research evidence to support their use may be more convincing than requests for treatment for which no clinical research evidence is available. See the summary of ECRI's evidence report on efficacy of treatments for bulimia nervosa.


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Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person engages in binge eating (eating a lot of food in a short time) followed by some type of behavior to prevent weight gain from the food that was eaten. This behavior can take two forms: self-induced vomiting, misuse of enemas, laxatives, diet pills (called purging) and excessive exercise, fasting, or diabetic omission of insulin (called non-purging). Some people with bulimia nervosa may also starve themselves for periods of time before binge eating again. Bulimia nervosa has important mental, emotional, and physical aspects that require consideration during treatment.

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