Good news on autism - groups are lobbying hard to get autism covered by insurance companies and may see success sooner than later.
The Autism Society of America - one of the largest autism advocacy groups in the country, estimates that an autistic child can cost a family upwards of $5 million dollars over a lifetime and intensive treatment for severely autistic children who need 40 hours a week of care runs at about $50,000 a year. Many parents are forced to take second and third jobs, take out a second mortgage - or ultimately file for bankruptcy. I wrote earlier this week about medical bankruptcy and this scenario certainly brings the dilemma of health insurance to light.
Applied behavior analysis - or ABA is a newer treatment for autism that has many advocates as well as critics. Insurance companies do not want to cover this kind of treatment as it considers it experimental. However, many reputable experts in autism consider ABA a valid therapy that sees excellent results, especially with higher functioning children who are diagnosed early.
The State of Virginia is currently going over a new Bill that would force insurance companies to cover autism as a medical condition like anything else and to pay for programs or therapies that work to help autistic children and their families cope with the condition, or even strive for a cure.
Like most Bills, once one high profile bill is introduced in one state, we can expect to see similar ones throughout the country so keep an eye out for a bill like this in your state.
For more on this story, click here: http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/10/17/autism.insurance/index.html
For more information on Autism click here:
www.autism-society.org or here:
Do you think health insurance companies should be compelled to cover autism, it's diagnosis and treatment? Do you (or someone you know) deal with autism in your life?
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