Post-“Denied”: Keep the Pressure on Insurance Companies

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014

Insurance Coverage:
Benefit or Barrier?

Dear Friends,

I’m writing on behalf of the women, men, and children I met this year while in treatment for an eating disorder, and I’m asking for your help.

Many of those I met have been suffering from their illnesses for years—but not necessarily because of the illness’s severity.

Rather, their eating disorders have been dragged out because their insurance providers consistently cut off treatment prematurely, even against clinician advice. Time and again, these patients leave treatment or (if they’re lucky) are moved to lower levels of care before they’re stable enough to do so. Often, these patients then become even sicker and wind up right back in treatment. In the end, all that is achieved is more physical and psychological damage and significant financial hardship.

On Dec. 14, 60 Minutes premiered a segment called “Denied,” which documented the stories of men, women, and children who, like my friends, were denied treatment by their insurance companies. They’ve paid for these companies’ choices with their own health and wellbeing—and in some cases, their lives.

NOW is the moment to capitalize on this attention. Please do not let this opportunity escape. Keep the spotlight on Anthem Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and other insurance companies who outright gamble with patients’ lives in the interest of saving money.

With the exception of one perfunctory press release from chief medical officer Sam Nussbaum, Anthem (which was the most prominently featured company in the documentary) has been silent on the matter. The company has affirmed that “identifying and treating mental illness is a responsibility [it] takes very seriously,” yet it will not comment on the startlingly high denial rates when it comes to mental health services (92-100%, 60 Minutes cites).

Don’t let this moment go—hold Anthem accountable and demand a response regarding what is clearly an inequitable handling of mental healthcare. And then don’t stop there—keep talking until all eating disorder patients and all those who suffer from a psychiatric illness have access to life-saving treatment.

Please share this. It takes a few clicks to add your voice to this request.

A Letter to 60 Minutes

Click here to read a letter from IEDAction to 60 Minutes regarding the segment “Denied.”