FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Academy for Eating Disorders Elissa Myers703-626-9087[email protected]

The Academy for Eating Disorders expresses concern about the impact of proposed ACA replacement bill on access to treatment for eating disorders

Newswise — Reston, Va. — The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) adds its voice to the serious concerns raised by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and other major health care organizations about the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act. The proposed replacement bill threatens to aggravate the already difficult environment for obtaining care for individuals with eating disorders and other mental illnesses.

At least 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime. Eating disorders are the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescent females. Eating disorders do not discriminate: male and female, young and old, all economic classes and race/ethnicities are affected. While eating disorders can be successfully and fully treated, unfortunately only about a third of people with an eating disorder ever receive treatment. Discussions on significant reforms to the current Affordable Care Act and Medicaid raise the possibility that an even greater number of patients suffering from these diseases will be unable to obtain treatment. Restrictions on access to routine health screenings may cause treatable eating disorder conditions to remain undiagnosed.

In particular, we echo the recommendations of the American Psychiatric Association that any new legislation:

o Maintain the current level of coverage for mental health and substance use disorders in health insurance plans.o Maintain safeguards in private insurance by specifically prohibiting the following: o Denying coverage based upon a pre-existing condition;o Establishing lifetime and annual dollar limits on essential health benefits; ando Discrimination based upon health status, including a history of mental illness or substance abuse.o Ensure that any efforts to restructure Medicaid are sufficient to fund mental health and substance use care, and do not shift the cost to states in a way that forces them to tighten eligibility requirements or reduce provider reimbursement or benefits.o Ensure full implementation and enforcement of the bipartisan Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which calls on insurers to offer coverage for mental health care on par with coverage for any other ailment.

“We implore our representatives to ensure that access to treatment for all forms of mental health disorders be considered and included for all Americans,” says Dr. Eva Trujillo, President of the Academy for Eating Disorders.

The Academy for Eating Disorders is a global professional association committed to leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment, and prevention. Our goal is to provide global access to knowledge, research and best treatment practice for eating disorders.