Autism Coverage Bills

Autism Coverage Bills

With the rise of autism awareness comes further state legislature for autism medical coverage.  Both Florida and Michigan have passed autism coverage bills for review.  These bills are intended to help families in need pay for necessary therapy for children with autism.

In Florida, healthcare regulators suggest that poor families do not have the resources needed to properly treat autism.  Therapy is needed for children with autism to lead more normal lives, and this legislature is meant to help these children receive the proper care.  U. S. District Judge Joan Lenard signed an order for the state Medicaid insurance program to pay for psychological treatment, known as applied behavior analysis (ABA), to improve the development of children with autism.

While many commercial carriers provide ABA, those families who were previously denied benefits could begin to receive care -- this change allows poor families to obtain autism coverage.

Previously, applied behavior analysis was called “experimental treatment” and was not covered for many families.  Teachers and caregivers noticed that children with autism from wealthier families improved with applied behavior analysis, but those who were unable to receive the care did not progress.

In Michigan, the proposed legislation states that insurance companies must pay for autism diagnosis and treatment up to age 18.  This change applies to insurance companies regulated by the state, and these companies will have to cover costs up to $50,000 per year for children under age 7; $40,000 per year for children ages 7 to 13; and $30,000 per year for children 13 up to 18.

For individuals with a “self-funded insurance plan,” this new bill will not help unless employers elect to adopt autism coverage.

Upon completion of this bill, Michigan will be one of 30 states to mandate autism coverage.  To find out if your state provides autism coverage, visit the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Photo by Michigan Municipal League

April 2, 2012

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Written by: Candice Evans See other articles by Candice Evans
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