MySpace, Facebook Pages and Insurance

My level of disgust at this really can't be described:

MySpace, Facebook Pages Called Key to Dispute Over Insurance Coverage for Eating Disorders

This is an cynical and reprehensible attempt to distract from the real issues and to intimidate the plaintiffs.

This is analogous to insurance companies not treating heart attacks as biological illness if they can prove that a patient had a fight with his or her spouse right before the attack. Like saying Alzheimer's patients are not paranoid because some caregivers really do steal silverware.

It doesn't matter what is in these online accounts. No big dark secrets of these families will offer insight into the cause of eating disorders. It is a brain disease, not a choice, not a reaction - regardless of what happened in the patient's life. Patients don't necessarily know what causes their illness.

Ask scientists. Go to PubMed. Don't poke around in MySpace seeking answers.

We desperately need clarity in the eating disorder world about cause. We need everyone in the eating disorder community to stand together for full insurance parity for eating disorders. People die for lack of treatment. People's lives are destroyed for lack of treatment. THIS MATTERS.


  1. You are SO right about this, Laura. This case shows the need for good, strong parity laws, like California's, which make it clear that eating disorders must be covered the same as all other medical conditions. In those states, the insured is entitled to coverage regardless of what the cause was. Let's root for New Jersey's legislature to pass the parity legislation ASAP and put an end to this ridiculous litigation.
    PS I wish the insurance company would spend as much money paying for care for this poor young person as it spends on lawyers fighting her.

  2. Have they never heard the word anosognosic?

    This is despicable.

  3. Have they never heard the word anosognosic?

    Well there are plenty of fully qualified psychiatrists around here who don't appear to have done, so why should insurance companies?

    You're right - it's despicable, and surely a contravention of privacy rights. I know the Internet is public space, but surely companies charged with providing health CARE shouldn't behave like grubby private detectives?

  4. I think that the support of people we have been in treatment with that we can stay connected with through myspace or facebook is positive, and the Eating Disorder Coalition for Rearch Policy and Action actively updates on their group page on both sites, along with NEDA. For those groups I would say feel free to look at but for the scientific data, don't go looking there. The EDC often posts updates about petitions/etc on MSP and FB sooner then the newsletters get sent out. Just an FYI.

    Best Laura! Thanks for keeping us all in the loop.


  5. By the way just to clarify I am a HUGE supporter of Parity! All the way.


  6. One of the biggest problems with this, beyond the issue of personal privacy, invasion of 'trust' and the possibility of precipitating a relapse, is that I see anorexia as an illness of distortions. The illness severely distorts the way one views body image, food, personal 'worthiness' and 'deservingness' of good things in life. It often causes severe anxiety in personal relationships too. I know, in the case of our daughter, that her anxiety was extreme in all these areas. Her sense of personal responsibility for the woes of the world was also distorted. Her writings totally reflected this very concrete, black and white thinking. Starvation only increased it. I was privy to some of what she wrote during that time and it was totally, totally not my world view of my life, her life, our life together. I respect that it WAS her inner life, but it was also not reality. It was her reality for a time, and it was killing her. That is exactly WHY she needed urgently medical help. It should NOT...I repeat used as an excuse for not treating.
    Some of her thinking may have had some grain of truth as a beginning, but was SO severely distorted that it was truly twisted logic.

    These lawyers are using totally faulty thinking. And, even if assuming these young women had indeed something in their pasts that pointed to this being a 'non-biological' preceptitator, e.g. a traumatic rape, an abusive boyfriend relationship, etc. Does this disqualify them? Do we not treat survivors of PTSD?

  7. In my case my therapist is treating BOTH the ED and the PTSD ...

    not as a cause and effect ...but that I used the ED (that she feels is as genetic as my lupus) to avoid/cover up/ignore the PTSD issues ... they covered for each other quite nicely.

    But both have to be treated.

    In the same way, I have 2 autoimmune diseases (3 if they wind up classifying fibro as one)
    Myasthenia Gravis and Lupus.
    Both, play against each other and into each other. BOTH have to be treated ...and you have to balance the treatment of one with the treatment of the other.

    But it does not make them the same disease. They dont' even come from the same source of the immune system.

    Yet if they're not both treated, then the one that is not treated makes it harder to treat the one that is being treated.

    Am I making any sense?

  8. so basically, the insurance companies are going to use the statement, "ana is a lifestyle, not a disease"? as a LEGAL argument against offering coverage for eating disorders?

  9. I've been following this lawsuit for a while now. Early on, Dawn Beye asked some of the top eating disorder experts in the country to submit letters to Horizon-BC/BS stating their beliefs, that ED's are biologically based illnesses. So, they had the expert input. The insurance company apparently decided that they'll take the distorted or anxiety ridden thoughts of the sufferers (as Anne has stated above) over those who spend their lives researching and working with ED's.

    These insurance companies are only trying to intimidate and count on people just giving up and going away. I hope Dawn and the others can stay the course, and that the NJ legislature passes a tough parity bill to help those in the future.

  10. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey collected $6.3 Billion in premiums last year and paid out only $5.5 Billion in benefits. Its CEO, William J. Marino, was paid $6.8 Million in total compensation.

  11. Regardless of WHAT the cause of eating disorders is, it's abso-freaking-lutely ridiculous that the insurance company would rather get that answer from MySpace than RESEARCH.


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