Anorexics Denied Insurance Coverage


"When I first drove in and saw her car I went 'that's not what I wanted to see,'" he said. "And then when I rang the doorbell and (got) no answer, I put my hand on the wall and thought 'Oh my gosh.' and when I found her I guess I was happy for a moment that she was breathing."

Guilt-ridden after a binge, Janell had downed several bottles of pills with alcohol. Her anorexia-ravaged body was too weak to fight.

"Basically she didn't have a chance at that point to make it through," Wilson said. "So driving to the hospital I knew this was going to be my last chance to see my sister."

After lingering on life support for four days, Janell died at the age of 26.

"Had she been able to get the care she needed… And had the doctor's said, 'you know, she's at a good place and she can go into an outpatient program,' I do. I believe she'd be with us today. I really do," Diana said.

The Smiths are now suing their insurance company. We offered that company and several others the opportunity to speak on camera, but they refused. Instead, they referred CBS News to Susan Pisano, a spokesperson for an insurance lobby group.

"What is lacking is a body of information that says these treatments are proven to be the most successful in the long term," Pisano said. "There isn't any evidence that says if you hospitalize for 45 or 60 or 75 days that they're necessarily going to do any better than people who are hospitalized for shorter periods of time."

Kristin Frost believes therapy makes all the difference.

"I think had I been able to reach that appropriate weight, stay in the hospital you know two three weeks after that, get comfortable with that weight. It would have been a lot easier for me to maintain," she said.

Frost prays she's now strong enough to face a brighter future.

"I've got something in me that just perseveres," she said. "I feel like I will be able to turn it around."

For more information on eating disorders, visit the Web site of the National Eating Disorder Association by clicking here.

You can also log onto the Web site of the Gail R. Schoenbach F.R.E.E.D. (For Recovery & Elimination of Eating Disorders) Foundation, by clicking here.