Cigna Eating Disorder Coverage

If you or a loved one are struggling with bulimia nervosa (BN), anorexia nervosa (AN), binge eating disorder (BED), or other eating disorders, you may need specific types of treatment in order to make the fullest recovery possible.

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Eating disorder coverage

Unfortunately, many of those types of care can be prohibitively expensive, forcing people to rely on their health insurance coverage in order to afford treatment.

If you have Cigna, the company is likely to cover many eating disorder treatment needs. Though, as with all health insurance plans, there are a number of nuances and caveats involved, and the specifics of how much or what will be covered depend entirely on the details of your particular policy. 

Does Cigna Cover Eating Disorder Treatment?

Essentially: Yes. Cigna will cover many treatment programs designed to help with eating disorders. [1]

Still, it’s important to remember that to be eligible for coverage, you will need to have an official diagnosis from a medical professional. This individual may have to be in-network, depending on your plan. And if they recommend a specific treatment program, it’s more likely to be approved for coverage.

Eating disorder symptoms

Any treatment recommendations must be based on medical evidence in order to be eligible for approval. Experimental treatments or those that don’t have sufficient evidence-based research backing them will likely not be covered.

For more details on the types of eating disorder coverage available for you through Cigna, you should consult a company representative or your particular plan.

What Will Cigna Cover for Bulimia Treatment?

Cigna insurance covers many types of appropriate clinical care for behavioral health and eating disorders, provided it’s considered evidence-based treatment and necessary for recovery.

Some forms of care that are usually covered include: [1]

Some forms of care that are usually covered include: [1]

Some of these treatment programs, such as acute care, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs, and inpatient residential treatment, may require special authorization in order to get covered. Generally, standard outpatient treatment does not require special authorization.

It’s also important to note that more expensive and intensive treatment options are likely to receive more scrutiny, or require a higher burden of proof, from the insurance company. A medical professional may need to go through a special authorization process to get expensive treatments approved by Cigna. [1]

What Will Cigna Not Cover When It Comes to Eating Disorder Treatment?

Cigna’s eating disorder coverage policies generally don’t cover treatments considered unnecessary, unproven, or experimental. For example, acupuncture isn’t typically covered for the purpose of treating eating disorders, as there is little evidence connecting this form of care to eating disorder recovery.

In the cases of these types of “fringe” treatments, you will most likely have to pay out-of-pocket if you still wish to receive this type of care. But, as always, it’s important to check first with the details of your particular insurance plan for more information.

Even treatments that are considered evidence-based must also be considered necessary or at least meaningfully valuable to your treatment in order for Cigna to extend coverage.

To qualify for inpatient or residential treatment, for example, you’ll generally need a medical professional to verify that you have a severe or long-standing eating disorder, require some type of physical stabilization, and require the type of intense care only provided through a residential treatment center.

If Cigna believes your condition can be effectively treated with outpatient care or an alternative form of therapy that’s cheaper but considered equally effective, they will likely deny the request for inpatient treatment.

How to Start the Treatment Process Using Cigna Coverage

To start the treatment process using Cigna insurance, you’ll need to first have an official diagnosis from a mental health or medical professional. This physician can also work with you to develop a treatment plan, which may make it easier to receive coverage for any forms of care they recommend down the road.

It may be necessary for this diagnosing physician to come from within the Cigna network. Make sure to read through your plan for details.

Once the diagnosis has been established, you will be free to pursue treatment. Limiting your search to in-network treatment providers will make it much more likely that your course of care will be covered by Cigna.

Coverage Denials

Remember: some treatments will require further authorization, with your doctor needing to submit sufficient evidence that the treatment is necessary for your recovery.

If that request for treatment coverage is denied, you may need to rework your treatment plan with your doctor to find an approach that is covered. Sometimes, your care providers can tweak your treatment plan to help you maximize coverage. 

You also have the option to combat the denial through your insurance company’s internal processes. [2] This is generally a time-consuming ordeal, and you likely won’t get a timely answer.

Since there is usually an urgency attached to eating disorder treatment, this may not be a preferred tactic. That’s why it’s usually more helpful to start off looking only at programs that are in-network for Cigna, or otherwise meet the requirements of your particular insurance policy.

Finding Bulimia Treatment Centers in Cigna’s Network

If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, it’s important to find help.

Cigna offers an easy-to-use search tool to help find care facilities in their network. This offers a solid starting point for finding the best—and most affordable—care for your condition.

You can also call Cigna directly, to discuss the details of your plan and possible care options with a representative of the company. And most eating disorder treatment centers also have staff dedicated to insurance coverage questions.

Dealing with insurance on top of all the emotionally and physically exhausting aspects of battling an eating disorder may seem impossible. But taking a few extra steps early on in the process can help ensure your treatment is covered, save you from further stress in the future, and help you get started as quickly as possible on the road to recovery.


  1. Levels of Treatment for Eating Disorders. Cigna. Accessed February 2023.
  2. Axelton, K. (2022, June 30). What to Do When Your Health Insurance Claim Is Denied. Experian. Accessed February 2023.
  3. Cigna Directory. Cigna. Retrieved February 4, 2023.

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Last Update | 06 - 26 - 2023

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