Can’t Afford the Cost of Inpatient Treatment for Bulimia

By February 5, 2013

I know I have written questions before, but I really need help. I have been trying to get into inpatient treatment for bulimia, but I cannot find help in the cost. My insurance does pay some; however, I still have to come up with 25,000. I have tried to take out loans, but I have no collateral and it seems that no matter what my credit score, no one is going to give me a loan for that much money. I have tried to go to my family to see if they can co-sign a loan, but they got so angry with me and I felt so ashamed. They will not have anything to do with my treatment. And now I feel really alone. I have been trying hard to get over the bulimia at home, but have been told many times that I need inpatient treatment. I have been to the ER four times in the last two months because of electrolight imbalance and dehydration to the point of it effecting my heart. I have worked hard to get where I am at. I worked myself through school and work full time. I just moved out of a womens shelter because I was sexually assaulted. I really want help. I know that so many women cannot get treatment because of the cost. So why am I different? I do not know. All I know is that I will die soon If I do not do something. Please, if you have any advice, let me know. Thank you for all you do. – Angela


I read that you are working hard to find financing for in-patient treatment. Unfortunately, many people are not able to get services due to a lack of third party assitance (insurance) and/or a low number of financial aid/scholarships at in-patient programs.

The panel question you submitted raises several questions for me:

  1. Your parents’ reaction to your request for help is reported as anger. And you feel alone and without back up or support from them.
  2. You report a recent trauma (sexual assault) and services at a women’s shelter.
  3. You self report bulimic activity and a need for services at the Emergency Room.
  4. Your report “may state” you need inpatient treatment. Are these professionals? Are you currently under the care of a physician, psychiatrist, or mental health therapist?

I do not know the local community in which you reside, so I am not able to provide specific resources; however, I would strongly encourage you to consider the following:

  • Find a mental health provider (psychiatrist and therapist) via the insurance panel (you write that you have insurance) and begin services immediately. I would encourage you to share with the mental health intake representative that you are in crisis and share all the details you report in the letter (multiple hospitalizations, victim of a crime, lack of family support).
  • Establish a relationship with a primary care physician to help monitor your physical health and/or possibly be able to refer you for services he/she may be aware of. The doctor may be able to write a prescription for a dietitian support that would be covered by insurance (this strengthens the amount of team people helping you outpatient).
  • Consider contacting the hospital facility in which you were seen and requst to speak to the medical social worker on staff. Explain your situation and request referrals and assistance in finding treatment.
  •  Inquire with a treatment facility in your area about a payment plan you may be able to establish with the hospital or in-patient program and ask if they will accept you for what the insurance will pay.
  • If you made a police report regarding the sexual assault incident and you are a victim of crime consider contacting the local police department and request information on victim services. Some crime victim offices have funds to pay for mental health treatment/services (albeit not a large amount of funds) if issues are exacerbated as a result of the crime. You may be able to apply for the funds and add them to the amount the insurance company is offering.

Also, read the article “Finding Treatment” if you haven’t yet done so.

While Finding Balance is not able to provide direct funding and I am not able to determine a 100% plan for achieving services, I believe I have outlined options. Do not let the lack of money keep you from reaching out and working with a professional today. I am glad you have received treatment at an ER and been made physically stable.

I am excited to read that you have worked hard and feel as if you were able to make some things happen on your own (school and a job that provides insurance and a good credit rating).  You apparently do several things well and that can be built upon!  I am relieved to read you are still alive, that you want help, and you are willing to fight for what you think will make the difference. I am frustrated that I do not have a magic wand to wave and create an opening at a phenomenal treatment site. But your letter reads that you want to live. You want to stop. You want to change. Talk about that with someone today!

Praying for breakthrough!

Leanne Spencer, LPC, MAMFC, CGE