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Eating Disorder Claims

Eating Disorder Treatment and Insurance Issues

Dealing with, and seeking treatment for eating disorders can be emotionally and financially devastating. When your health insurance company gives you a hard time, or when it denies payment for benefits, matters only go from bad to worse. We can help, Kantor & Kantor, LLP has developed a specialized legal practice representing clients whose claims for treatment of eating disorders, and dual diagnosis (substance abuse and other co-morbid conditions) have been unfairly denied by their health insurers or benefit plan. Kantor & Kantor, LLP's aggressive approach to litigation and legislation has brought justice for clients who have found themselves fighting for their insurance benefits when benefits were wrongfully denied.

Kantor & Kantor, LLP (K&K) represents an increasing number of young women and men suffering from life-threatening eating disorders and dual diagnosis conditions, whose health plans refuse to pay for required treatment on the grounds that such life-saving treatment is "not medically necessary," only necessary at a lower level of care, or is limited by plan terms.

HARLICK v. BLUE SHIELD OF CALIFORNIA NOTICE - ​​​​On August 26, 2011, thanks to the excellent efforts of attorneys Lisa Kantor & Elizabeth Green of Kantor & Kantor, LLP, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of Jeanene Harlick and held that California's mental health parity act required Blue Shield to pay for her care at a residential treatment facility. Read the Court's decision by clicking the link above. 

Residential Treatment

For many clients, residential treatment is the most appropriate and effective level of care for treatment of their eating disorder and related conditions.

The American Psychiatric Association's Practice Guidelines include residential treatment as an essential step in the spectrum of treatment for eating disorders, falling between inpatient hospital care and outpatient care. Professionals involved in the treatment of eating disorder have produced concrete evidence that residential care treatment is optimal to prevent relapses and promote healing because it addresses both medical and psychological issues. Some insurers ignore this accepted standard of care, however, providing coverage only for hospitalization or outpatient care.

In order to obtain residential care, policyholders frequently must sue their health plan or insurer to pay for treatment. That's where we come in. We are one of only a few legal practices in the United States that will represent eating disorder patients denied health benefits for residential treatment.

We represent clients in litigation and are available to advise clients during the administrative appeals process. We also appeal cases to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals if necessary.

In addition, we fight for our clients in the legislative arena, appearing at administrative hearings before state insurance boards to inform lawmakers of standard of care issues surrounding eating disorders when crafting laws that govern insurance benefits.

Our advocacy in the area of eating disorders has changed California law regarding the way insurers pay benefits for eating disorder care.

Below are a few examples:

  • K&K challenged a lower court decision regarding a health plan's refusal to comply with the state's mental health parity law in refusing residential treatment to a policyholder with anorexia. [link to Harlick materials]
  • K&K successfully petitioned the California Department of Managed Health Care on behalf of a client with anorexia being discharged from a residential care facility because her insurer refused to pay for treatment. [link to Shepard materials]
  • K&K recovered benefits for a client suffering from bulimia when her medical plan declined to refer her to an out-of-plan treatment facility and refused to pay for the cost of treatment. The California Court of Appeal ruled that the decision to place our client in residential treatment, rather than follow the health insurers flawed treatment decisions, may have saved our client's life.
  • K&K prevailed at trial and on appeal when the 9 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal determined our client was entitled to long-term disability benefits after her employer changed its policy definition to exclude her eating disorder. The court ruled that the plan in effect at the time of disability was the plan that governed the disposition of benefits.
  • K&K received the first published appellate decision in California for an eating disorder case where our client was denied benefits for in-patient treatment of bulimia. The Court of Appeal interpreted California's mental health parity law to include beneficiaries from California policies who did not live in California and sought medical care outside of California.

Recently, Kantor & Kantor, LLP Partner, Lisa Kantor, spoke in Washington D.C. at a Congressional Briefing on the subject of Eating Disorders, and in favor of the Freed Act which seeks to draw attention to, and direct resources toward Eating Disorders and their treatment.

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Free Case Consultations Provided
  • 160+ Years' Collective Experience
  • Thousands Of Cases Successfully Handled
  • You Don't Pay Us Unless We Recover Your Claim
  • Selected For Inclusion In The List Of Super Lawyers®

Client Testimonials

  • I am a life you have touched. May God bless you richly.

    “After suffering with constant pain for nearly seven months, losing the job I loved and then being denied my long term disability, I was extremely discouraged when I began looking for help. With a few phone calls from Mr. Kantor to my insurance company, my long term disability was reinstated . The financial burden was lifted and I have hope again. I am a life you have touched. May God bless you richly.”

    Susan H.

  • You are the light in the darkness for all of us.

    “Lisa- You are the light in the darkness for all of us in the eating disorder community. I believe that you were born to take on these challenges.”

    Pam S.

  • The light at the end of the tunnel was masked, but we found it!

    “I'm sending my heartfelt wishes to you and your team for a wonderful holiday. We celebrate Christmas this year with a lighter heart than past years - knowing how you made a difference for us and for so many others. The light at the end of the tunnel was masked, but we found it! And so, cheers to you and your incredible team. Have a wonderful and safe new year.”

    J.

  • Thank you a zillion times for your patience and time and absolutely helpful information.

    “Thank you a zillion times for your patience and time and absolutely helpful information. You've helped me understand my position with my disability insurance and payments so much better. There is some real comfort in feeling anchored in knowledge…of what is and what might be in the future. Thanks to you!”

    B.

  • First of all, I want to express my extreme gratitude for probably saving my daughter's life.

    “First of all, I want to express my extreme gratitude for probably saving my daughter's life. By staying in treatment, the improvement is remarkable. She had been in eating disorder facilities many times, and treatment had been interrupted repeatedly by Anthem Blue Cross's denying benefits. Many of the health professionals were telling me that maybe my daughter was a hopeless case. You both gave me hope. She is still struggling with some residual issues around eating, but the change in her attitude, her ability to assess her own recovery, and her wish to live instead of to die, is evident in her life. Now she is back in school, after years of having her education disrupted by the eating disorder. She goes places with friends, and even goes out to restaurants for fun! This year marked the first holiday season for many years, when she had not been in a treatment facility. Other people gave up and you didn't. I can't thank you enough. You took the action that was necessary to keep my daughter in treatment long enough for it to work.”

    Anonymous