CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policy today urging equal health care access and payment for eating disorders. Although current federal law mandates parity in benefit levels for eating disorders, many payers do not offer parity of services, effectively excluding eating disorders from mental health parity.

"Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, but too often a patient's care is determined by their insurance company instead of their health needs," said former AMA Board Chair Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. "With only one in 10 patients with an eating disorder receiving treatment and with psychological intervention widely accepted as a critical component of care, ensuring mental health parity in benefits will save lives."

The policy builds on existing AMA policy related to eating disorders, mental health parity and body image. The AMA already encourages payment for physical and behavioral health care services on the same day and for Medicaid to pay for those services in school settings. Additionally, the AMA supports increased funding for research on diagnosis, prevention and treatment of eating disorders, including research on the effectiveness of school-based primary prevention programs for pre-adolescent children and their parents.

Media Contact:

AMA Media & Editorial

ph: (312) 464-4430

[email protected]

About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

Featured Stories