Rozic, Biaggi Pass Legislation to Expand Coverage for Eating Disorders

Legislation closes a gap in coverage by requiring insurance companies to cover all aspects of eating disorders treatment
May 6, 2019

Albany, NY – Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) and State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx/Westchester) announced passage of legislation (A1619/S3101) that they sponsored that would require insurance companies to provide full coverage for eating disorders treatment, expanding on the current New York State Mental Health Parity Law that only covers anorexia and bulimia. This change will provide those suffering from a lesser known eating disorder the ability to seek treatment and recover without mounting medical costs.

“Eating disorders are real, complex, devastating conditions that affect health, productivity, and families across New York,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. “Eating disorders are highly treatable with affordable medical care that doesn't leave families choosing between bankruptcy and recovery. I am proud to have championed this crucial, life-saving legislation.”

"As a person who has lived with an eating disorder for fifteen years, I can say from experience that my disease is not black and white; eating disorders are complex, devastating conditions that can manifest differently depending on the person. And while recovery is possible, the cost of treatment often stands in the way. The purpose of this bill is to close the gap in healthcare coverage to include all iterations of eating disorders, so that every New Yorker striving to overcome this disease – no matter what it looks like – can access the care they need," said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi.

In the United States, 30 million men and women suffer from some form of an eating disorder. Currently, only anorexia and bulimia are covered by insurance in New York. This bill would expand the definition of eating disorders to include pica, rumination disorder, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, other specified feeding or eating disorder, and any other eating disorder contained in the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association.

It is estimated that currently 11% of high school students have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, with anorexia being the third most common chronic illness among adolescents according to The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. According to The National Eating Disorders Association, for females between fifteen to twenty-four years old who suffer from anorexia nervosa, the mortality rate associated with the illness is ten times higher than the death rate of all other causes of death.

“NEDA is thrilled that the New York State Senate and Assembly have taken steps to expand the definition of eating disorders, and to ensure that all New Yorkers who struggle with eating disorders will have access to the care they need! We are so grateful to Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic for their leadership, and to the entire New York State Legislature for addressing this gap in coverage for eating disorders. While eating disorders are serious mental illnesses, recovery is possible with appropriate treatment. We hope to see this bill signed into law by Governor Cuomo and that our leaders in government continue to take action in the fight against eating disorders,” said Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorder Association.

Supported by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the Mental Health Association in New York State, and other organizations, the bill passed both the Assembly and the State Senate with bipartisan support.