One-year use and cost of inpatient and outpatient services among female and male patients with an eating disorder: evidence from a national database of health insurance claims

Int J Eat Disord. 2000 May;27(4):381-9. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-108x(200005)27:4<381::aid-eat2>;2-u.


Objective: This study examined rates and cost of inpatient and outpatient treatment among 1,932 patients with an eating disorder.

Method: One-year (1995) data were available through MarketScan, a national insurance database containing claims for 1,902,041 male patients and 2,005,760 female patients.

Results: Female patients (n = 1,756, 0.14% of all females) were significantly more likely to have been treated for an eating disorder than male patients (n = 176, 0.016% of all males), and females received more days of treatment than males. Outpatient treatment was the norm, regardless of gender or type of eating disorder. Average number of days (inpatient or outpatient) was less than the minimum recommended by standards of care. Age-adjusted costs for the treatment of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa were comparable to the cost of treatment for schizophrenia.

Discussion: The utilization data are discussed in terms of barriers to care and treatment guidelines for eating disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / economics*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Sex Factors