[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
State Exchanges Yielding Mixed Results on Autism Benefits
UPDATE: Massachusetts, Nevada Move on ABA Coverage; Deadline Extended to Dec. 14
November 14, 2012
NEW YORK (November 16, 2012) — The states are creating a patchwork of available autism benefits as they begin implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) due to poor guidance from the federal government, according to an ongoing analysis by Autism Speaks.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has again extended the deadline, now December 14, for the states to identify what existing health plan will serve as the model, or benchmark, that many individual and small group plans will have to start offering in 2014. The ACA requires 10 categories of essential health benefits, including behavioral health treatment for autism, be included in the new coverage. The requirement affects individual and fully insured small group plans that were created after the ACA was signed into law in 2010.
In an ongoing examination of the 29 states that enacted autism insurance reform laws through 2011, Autism Speaks has found that seven have officially adopted a benchmark plan and submitted it to HHS and that benchmark plans had been recommended for approval in another nine states. The preliminary review of the plans found:
- The seven adopted benchmark plans each require autism insurance coverage (Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York, shown in dark green) Massachusetts acted since our last update
- Five states with recommended plans include an autism benefit (Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada and Vermont, shown in light green) Nevada joined this list since our last update
- The other four states with recommended plans do not include an autism benefit (Kansas, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Virginia, shown in red)
- The remaining 13 states (shown in yellow) either asked HHS for further guidance before they submit plans or their status could not be determined by Autism Speaks
- Alaska, Delaware and Michigan, which enacted autism insurance reform laws this year, were not included in the analysis because of a December 31, 2011 cutoff date established by HHS regarding state-required benefits
“The picture is still not clear for the future of autism insurance benefits despite clear direction from Congress (see video below) that they should be an integral part of the Affordable Care Act,” said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks’ executive vice president for program & services. “This is the result of poor guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in helping the states implement the new law.
“We have all worked too hard over the last five years to end insurance industry discrimination against families raising children with autism and we will remain vigilant that those protections remain in place as the ACA is implemented by the states,” he said.
Among the Congressional champions for protecting autism benefits in the new federal health care law has been Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. During a February hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Menendez reminded HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of Congress’ intent when it enacted the law and questioned her department’s commitment in implementing the law.
The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic 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 work. In 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.