State Representative Rick Stream (R) of Kirkwood is pushing for a bill that would require health insurance providers and health benefit plans to provide coverage to individuals with eating disorders, and for the diagnosis and treatment options.
The coverage would also include psychiatric, medical treatment, and other treatment options prescribed by a health care professional. Stream’s push for the bill stems from personal tragedy. His daughter Katie, who was just 18 years old, died from battling bulimia in 1995. “She had bulimia for just under three years, so it went pretty fast for her,” he said. “We had her in treatment, but she couldn’t stop. It’s an addiction.” He says treatment for eating disorders has changed drastically in the past 17 years.
Stream says his daughter binged and purged for nearly three years, and he said as a parent, it’s difficult to see your child slowly dying. He says treatment options have taken on a multi-faceted approach. “Nutrition, as well as the counseling aspect- because it is a psychiatric condition, so you have to treat the mind as well as the body,” Stream said. “And it’s not about the food, it’s about body perception primarily by young women, but also young men too.”
In an effort to educate other legislators on the need for eating disorder insurance coverage, The National Eating Disorders Association is holding its 5th annual Missouri Advocacy Day on Thursday at the Missouri State Capitol.
To view Representative Stream’s proposed bill (HB131), click here.
AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (1:03)