Dear Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey: This is Incredibly Bad PR
Via Junkfood Science, I learned that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, in response to a lawsuit from parents over the insurer’s refusal to cover their children’s anorexia or bulimia, is demanding access to the children’s emails and MySpace and Facebook accounts. According to this news item:
Horizon claims that the children’s online writings, as well as journal and diary entries, could shed light on the causes of the disorders, which determines the insurer’s responsibility for payment. New Jersey law requires coverage of mental illness only if it is biologically based.
Horizon claims the eating problems are not biologically based and that the writings could point to emotional causes. It contends that access to the writings is especially important because the court has barred taking the minors’ depositions.
Essentially, the insurer is claiming that the eating disorders are simply an emotional problem, and want to root around in children’s communications to try to demonstrate that nothing is physically wrong – it’s all in their heads. And mental health concerns never have a biological basis, right? That must be why psychiatrists never prescribe drugs to help with mental health. Or not.
I wonder how BCBS plans to separate normal teenage angst from writings demonstrating a direct cause of their eating disorders? Somehow I doubt that’s even possible, because, let’s be frank – if someone dug up all of your teenage missives, would it seem like you were a mature, mentally stable person? Probably not. Also, teens never exaggerate their mental suffering, right? Way to try to humiliate them in the process of trying to get their serious (sometimes fatal) disorders covered so they can have access to treatment. Ugh.