NJ Family Wins Major Battle For Those With Eating Disorders

Three years ago, thirteen year old Marisa Meiskin wore baggy clothes to hide her thinning body. What started out as calorie counting and label watching, soon progressed to weighing herself several times a day and throwing her food away. Her parents, finding themselves searching through the family garbage to be sure Marisa was eating, knew they were dealing with a much bigger problem.

Marisa was diagnosed with Anorexia and was treated in a nearby hospital. After several visits her parents realized that with each return home their daughter would quickly lose the weight she had gained while being treated there. Jaundiced and her heart rate dangerous low, they then sent her to a specialized hospital in Utah. When their insurance carrier, Aetna, would not cover the tens of thousands of dollars the facility cost a month they were forced to take out a second mortgage on their home. They filed suit against their insurance carrier. “We had no choice,” Jeff Meiskin, Marisa’s father, said. “If we had not brought her to the Utah facility, we don’t know where she'd be. She may not be here.”

"All carriers that do business in New Jersey had taken a uniform position that all eating disorders were not biologically based and based on that misassumption, they were limiting coverage across the board,”
said the Meiskin's lawyer, Bruce Nagel. Aetna has now agreed to pay for eating disorder treatment claims that were denied during the past 7 years, settling the class-action lawsuit. This means that the Meiskins and all 100 families listed in the suit will get reimbursed and other full coverage Aetna members will also be eligible.

Marisa, now 16, is speaking out about anorexia. She wants others to understand that it is not about vanity but a debilitating disorder rooted in control.

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Angel said...

I was no where close to being ready for release from in-patient treatment, and was still medicaly unstable when Blue Cross Blue Shield refused to cover more than a 21 day stay. All we could afford out of pocket were 9 extra days. I'm fighting a relapse, and the extra financial stresses of even out patient treatment are wearing me down.

MrsMenopausal said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. Insurance companies should not dictate the extent of treatment needed. Many experience what you are now. The insurance company policies need to change and they need to change now.
Please check these out: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/index.cfm
(more in the sidebar of my blog).

Please check your email. I have sent you some information I hope may be helpful.

Hang in there, Angel. If I can help in any way please let me know.