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Lower-Income Americans Are Being Shut Out of Life-Saving Treatments for Anorexia

US families face monumental barriers to accessing treatment for anorexia and bulimia as insurance plans fall short.

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Illustration: Steph Davidson, Getty (4)

The pandemic exacerbated many mental health problems, and eating disorders are no exception: Emergency room visits for girls suffering from anorexia and bulimia were twice as high in January of this year as they were three years earlier.

What hasn’t kept up is how government-funded insurance programs have responded to the crisis. Families are struggling to obtain adequate care on the plans designed to help the very people who can’t afford the costly treatments that higher-income Americans turn to.