Autism Speaks | FAQs on Colorado’s Autism Insurance Reform Law | June 2009 #AutisticHistory #BanABA


[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

FAQs on Colorado’s Autism Insurance Reform Law

1. What does the Colorado autism insurance reform law (C.R.S. 10-16-104) do?

Broadly speaking, the Colorado autism insurance reform law (C.R.S. 10-16-104):

Applies to all children under the age of 19.

Requires most state-regulated group insurance policies to provide coverage for the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. Coverage for any care besides applied behavioral analysis cannot be subject to dollar limits, deductibles, or coinsurance provisions that are less favorable than those that apply to physical illness generally under the health insurance plan. Plans must provide at least $34,000 of coverage per year for applied behavior analysis from birth to age nine. Plans must provide at least $12,000 of coverage per year for applied behavior analysis a child nine years of age or older until the child is 19.

2. When did the law go into effect?

July 1, 2010. It applies to applicable health insurance plans issued or renewed on or after that date.

3. Will my employer-provided health insurance be required to cover my child’s autism services?

All employer-provided health insurance regulated by the state of Colorado is subject to the law. Some employers fund their own health benefit program, which means they are self-insured and do not pay premiums to an insurance company to spread the risk of their employees. These health benefit programs are not regulated by the state of Colorado, but are regulated by the federal government under the Employer Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Self-insured employer plans are not covered under the state law.

4. How do I know if my health benefit plan is a self-insured plan?

Consult with your employer.

5. Are there limits on what the Colorado law requires private insurance to cover?

Insurance companies are required to cover the costs of all treatment prescribed by the insured’s treating medical doctor or psychologist at the same rate that their plans cover physical illness with the exception of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. Insurance companies can limit their coverage of ABA to $34,000 for a child under the age of 9 and $12,000 for children between the age of 9 and 19.

6. How will the law be enforced?

The Colorado Department of Insurance has regulatory authority over state-regulated health insurance programs doing business in Colorado. The Department will use this authority to enforce the law.

7. What treatments does the law require coverage of?

The law defines “treatment for autism spectrum disorders” as including: evaluation and assessment services; behavior training and behavior management, and applied behavior analysis, including consultations, direct care, supervision, or treatment; habilitative or rehabilitative care, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech therapy; pharmacy care and medication (if covered by the insurance plan for other illness); psychiatric care; psychological care, including family counseling; and therapeutic care.

8. Is applied behavioral analysis (ABA) covered?

Yes, the law specifically mentions “applied behavior analysis” and creates a minimum benefit of $34,000 a year for a child under the age of 9 and $12,000 for children between the ages of 9 and 19.

9. Will all Autism Spectrum diagnoses be covered, or just those diagnoses with the keyword of “autism”?

The law specifically defines “autism spectrum disorder” as including “Autistic Disorder”, “Asperger’s disorder”, and “Atypical Autism as a diagnosis within Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified”. Coverage is mandated for all three of these diagnoses.

10. Does Autism Spectrum Disorder have to be the primary diagnosis for the child in order to qualify for coverage?

No, there is no requirement that ASD must be the “primary” diagnosis for the child to qualify for coverage. However, if the child is also diagnosed with a congenital defect or birth abnormality, his or her benefits for habilitative or rehabilitative care are limited to twenty visits per year for each type of therapy – occupational, physical, and speech.

11. Is Case Management covered?

Case Management is not a mandated under the law, however, it can be covered under “early intervention services” for the child from birth until the age of 3. The minimum annual benefit for this coverage is $5,725.

12. Who determines what services are “medically necessary”?

The patient’s physician or psychologist indicates on the treatment plan what services are medically necessary, however there is a utilization review process within the insurance company that may review the services ordered on the treatment plan.

13. Will insurance companies be able to deny services if my child is not making “sufficient progress or has reached a plateau in his/her progress?

A treatment plan prescribed by a physician is subject to utilization review and medical necessity review. While an insurance company could decide that services are no longer “medically necessary”, such a decision would be subject to external review under the Health Carrier External Review Act.

14. Will private insurers be developing their own medical necessity criteria?

Private insurers will use their own medical necessity criteria. The patient’s physician or psychologist indicates on the treatment plan what services are medically necessary, however there is a utilization review process within the insurance company that may review the services ordered on the treatment plan.

15. What is “utilization review”?

“Utilization review” refers to techniques used by health carriers to monitor the use of, or to evaluate the medical necessity, appropriateness, efficacy, or efficiency of health care services, procedures or settings. Some examples of techniques used include ambulatory review, prospective review, retrospective review, second opinion, certification, concurrent review, case management or retrospective review. (Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners)

16. What is “grievance review”?

“Grievance review” refers to a health carrier’s internal processes for the resolution of covered persons’ complaints. The complaints may arise out of a utilization review decision or involve the availability, delivery or quality of health care services; claims payment, handling or reimbursement for health care services; or matters pertaining to the contractual relationship between a covered person or health carrier. Some states may call it an “internal appeal” process. (Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners)

The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic Community

* The “autism community” is not the Autistic Community. The autism community was created by non-Autistic led organizations and includes mostly parents, professionals and their friends. Most of what the world knows about autism is sourced from the non-Autistic “autism community.”


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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