By Andrew Pollack
Through claims and court cases, those with severe cases of anorexia or bulimia are fighting insurers to pay for stays in residential treatment centers, arguing that the centers offer around-the-clock monitoring so that patients do not forgo eating or purge their meals.
But in the last few years, some insurance companies have re-emphasized that they do not cover residential treatment for eating disorders or other mental or emotional conditions. The insurers consider residential treatments not only costly — sometimes reaching more than $1,000 a day — but unproven and more akin to education than to medicine. Even some doctors who treat eating disorders concede there are few studies proving that residential care is effective, although they believe it has value.