Insurance Coverage for Anorexia Treatment & Eating Disorders

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is from February 23rd to March 1st, and we feel it’s essential that we shed light on this important topic. After all, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 30 million Americans struggle with eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. This is an overwhelming amount of people that are living with eating disorders, especially considering the impact that these conditions have on people’s lives, and on the fact that they can even be fatal. 


If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, you need to know how you can get help, and if your insurance will cover your treatment. So, you should know that most insurance plans will cover some form of treatment, but how much they cover will be dependent on your plan.illustration of a woman eating a small helping of food with the words "insurance coverage for anorexia treatment & eating disorders" written across

What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders affect a person’s relationship with food and body image. People who are living with an eating disorder tend to be hyper-focused on the food they eat, their body weight or shape, and/or how they control their intake of food. 


Different types of eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia nervosa, which is characterized by weight loss or maintenance through extreme dieting, starvation, or too much exercise.
  • Binge eating, which means frequently consuming an unhealthily large amount of food in one sitting. 
  • Bulimia nervosa, which can involve purging (throwing up), taking laxatives, exercising, or fasting to avoid weight gain after binge eating.

Eating Disorder by the Numbers 

As stated above, eating disorders are by no means minor problems. Consider the following: pile of different color felt numbers

  • Eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness among adolescent females in the United States.
  • A quarter of people with anorexia are male. Men have an increased risk of dying from eating disorders, because it often takes much longer to diagnose them than it does women.
  • The median age of eating disorder onset is 21 for binge eating disorder and 18 for anorexia and bulimia nervosa.
  • Roughly one person dies every hour as a direct result of an eating disorder.

Insurance Coverage for Eating Disorders

As we mentioned above, your health insurance should cover treatment for an eating disorder. But your insurer’s coverage might not be the same as another person’s. Coverage for treatment depends on your plan, the state you live in, and the severity of your disorder. 


If you are considering seeking treatment for an eating disorder, it is important to ask the following questions of your insurance company:

  • Will coverage be applied for both inpatient and outpatient care?
  • Is nutritional counseling covered?
  • How long will my treatment be covered for, and how many trips to rehab are covered during a policy year?
  • Which providers are covered?

It is also important to think about your personal needs. For example, anorexia often warrants inpatient or partially hospitalized care. So treatment professionals can make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. Generally, health insurance companies will cover at least 10 days of inpatient rehab for eating disorders, where you can work on your mental health, and receive nutrition counseling to help foster a healthy approach to eating and food.


It is important to note that if you have a substance abuse problem accompanied by an eating disorder, some insurers will only make payments toward outpatient care when substance abuse is the primary issue. 

Is Your Plan Sufficient?

One of the most important factors in getting the help you need for an eating disorder is your health insurance. Before purchasing a plan, make sure you understand what coverage it offers. And make sure it will cover evaluation and treatment.


If you’re not sure what plan is right for you, speak to an EZ agent! EZ agents are highly trained and knowledgeable and will sort through all available plans to make sure that treatments for eating disorders are covered in yours. 


We offer a wide range of health insurance plans from top-rated insurance companies in every state. And because we work with so many companies we can can show you all of the plans available in your area. And we can find you a plan that saves you hundreds of dollars. Even if you don’t qualify for a subsidy. There is no obligation, or hassle, just free quotes on all available plans in your area. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a local agent, call 888-350-1890.

Can You Be TOO Healthy?

You can never be too healthy, right? Well, that depends. If we’re just talking about getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and getting your daily dose of exercise, then sure, there’s no arguing with that. But, for some, what starts as a well-intentioned and enthusiastic desire to eat a healthy or “clean” diet and stay fit can turn into an unhealthy obsession. This unhealthy obsession can become so intense that it can turn into an eating disorder, known as orthorexia, or orthorexia nervosa. 

What Is Orthorexia?a white plate with a portion of salmon and vegetables with a fork on one side of the table and a knife on the other side.

Shockingly, it is estimated that at least 30 million people in the United States suffer from some form of eating disorder. While most people have heard of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia, orthorexia might be less familiar to some. The term, from the Greek “ortho” meaning  “right,” “orexia,” meaning “hunger,” and “nervosa meaning “fixation” or “obsession,” was coined in 1997 by Dr. Stephen Bratman to describe the obsession with healthy eating he had begun to see in some of his patients. What sets it apart from other eating disorders is that it’s not generally about quantity of food, but rather quality. While those suffering from orthorexia might also be looking to maintain a certain weight, and there could be some crossover between anorexia and orthorexia, the main goal is not always weight loss or management. 

Orthorexia is currently not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) as an official eating disorder, but the medical community is recognizing it more and more, as it is becoming clear that it is a serious issue for some. And it’s not surprising that this type of eating disorder has become more common. Our society’s fixation on being perfect, fueled by a social media filled with influencers showcasing their “healthy” lifestyles, can end up reinforcing an obsession with healthy living in those who might be more prone to orthorexia. 

So how do you know if your healthy lifestyle is going too far? Here are 8 warning signs that you could be dealing with orthorexia.

1. You Obsess Over “Healthy” Eating

The problem with recognizing orthorexia is that it can start in a much more subtle way than other eating disorders, like anorexia. It starts with the intent to lead a healthy lifestyle, but it can spiral out of control. You become obsessed with and extremely focused on the quality and nutritional content of your food, specific ingredients that you use, or health trends that you follow. Full-blown orthorexia will begin to interfere with your social and work life. 

2. You Have Unrealistic Expectations Fueled by Social Mediatanned woman's body in a two piece bathing suit on a white floatie on her cell phone

While not all orthorexics follow “healthy lifestyle” advocates on social media, many can be unconsciously influenced by the expectations that are all around us. You might find yourself comparing yourself to others who seem to lead the “perfect” lifestyle. Just as many people dealing with other types of eating disorders might be chasing an ideal (and often unattainable) “perfect” body type, if you’re dealing with orthorexia you may look to others to point the way towards the “perfect” diet and lifestyle. 

3. You Judge Others

Your obsession with your own “healthy” lifestyle might lead you to judge how the people around you choose to eat and live. You might even begin to avoid certain people and situations if they don’t live up to your standards. This is another way that orthorexia can interfere with your personal and social life: you might tell yourself that you are “better” than other people and use that as an excuse to isolate yourself. 

4. Your Lifestyle Takes Up A Lot of Your Time

thought bubble made up of a cracked egg white and yolk.
Orthorexics will spend a lot of time thinking about food, and prepping meals.

The personal, social, and work aspects of your life can also end up getting pushed to the side as your “healthy” lifestyle takes up more and more of your time. You might spend excessive amounts of time thinking about food, planning and prepping meals, or even cleaning your food or researching your chosen lifestyle and the “rules” surrounding it. 

5. You Avoid Food You Haven’t Prepared Yourself

As with most eating disorders, much of orthorexia is centered on control. If you’re dealing with orthorexia, you will have a genuine desire to have control over all aspects of your food and health, which means you might begin to avoid eating food cooked by other people, or going to restaurants. This can further take a toll on your social life, make you even more isolated, and maybe drive you deeper into your obsession.

6. Your Food Elimination Goes Too Far

There’s definitely no shortage of influencers and ads out there perpetuating fear-based thinking about certain types of food. If you’re dealing with orthorexia, you might take all of that to heart and become so anxious about certain ingredients, types of food, or food groups that you begin to cut them out of your lifestyle completely. In an effort to cut any “unworthy” foods out of your life, you will probably obsessively check labels and take further control over food prep to make sure that everything meets your rule-based lifestyle. 

7. Your Eating Habits Control Your Emotionsthe word shame in capital letters with many little words within each letter.

As you become more obsessed with your “healthy” habits, your emotions will become linked to how strictly you stick to your own self-imposed “rules.” You might experience mood swings, jumping between anxiety, shame and self-loathing if you don’t live up to your strict standards, and euphoria if your lifestyle is going well. And, if depression and anxiety become bigger parts of your life, you might go to more extreme lengths to get that feeling of euphoria.

8. You Begin to Have Physical Symptoms

Orthorexia may not be as recognized as other eating disorders, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t take a serious toll on your body, as well as on your mind. Enough obsessing, eliminating, restricting, and rule-creating and you could eventually start to experience the physical signs of malnutrition. These include:

  • Feeling more fatigued, colder, or weaker than usual
  • Weight loss
  • Taking longer to recover from common illnesses and viruses

We don’t currently have any accurate statistics on how many people are suffering from orthorexia, for a number of reasons. But that needs to change. As we are bombarded more and more with images of how we “should” be living our lives and what it takes to be perfectly “healthy,” many of us could find ourselves dealing with some form of an eating disorder, like orthorexia. 

This disorder can wreak havoc on your mental and your physical health, and it should be taken very seriously. If you see yourself in any of the warning signs above, please talk to a trusted professional.