[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Premera, LifeWise Agree To Cover Autism Treatment In Washington
May 19, 2014
(May 19, 2014) — Premera Blue Cross and LifeWise Health Plan of Washington have agreed to settle three class action lawsuits by covering applied behavior analysis (ABA) as well as speech, occupational and physical therapy for autism. The proposed settlements are the latest victories for a Seattle law firm that has used the state’s Mental Health Parity Act in a series of legal actions brought against insurers in Washington and Oregon.
As part of the settlements, which must be finalized by the judges presiding over the three cases, a $3.5 million fund would be established for policyholders to gain reimbursement for autism -related services paid out-of-pocket.
“Some day soon all children in Washington State will have access to the speech, occupational, physical and ABA therapies that they need,” said Rick Spoonemore of Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore Hamburger. “This settlement agreement is a giant leap forward to that day. Premera should be commended for working with plaintiffs to ensure full coverage and better health care for Washington children.”
Spoonemore’s law firm has prevailed in previous cases involving Regence Blue Cross and the Washington State Health Care Authority. New litigation has been filed against Boeing, which employs 81,000 workers in Washington, and the Oregon Public Employees Benefits Board.
The proposed settlement provides for Premera to drop its “developmental disability” exclusion, any age exclusion or treatment limitations to cover medically necessary neurodevelopmental therapy services for autism. The agreement also spells out how Premera will cover medically necessary ABA therapy for autism. The coverage changes would apply to all plans issued by Premera and Lifewise in the State of Washington.
“Today is a proud day for our family,” said John Griffin, a parent of one of the plaintiffs. “Occupational and speech therapy made an enormous difference in our son’s life. As a result of the settlement, other children with developmental disabilities will now have full coverage for these services.”
“ABA therapy quite literally changed my then-teenage son’s life,” said Melissa Menti, of Bellingham, Washington, the parent of the plaintiff J.P., a 20-year-old with autism. “ABA therapy helped my son to develop the behaviors he needs to live on his own and lead a productive and full life. I am so glad that other children will now have a clear way to obtain coverage of ABA.”
Eric Earling of Premera said, “there is a neurodevelopmental therapy mandate in Washington, which requires insurers to cover neurodevelopmental therapy for children under the age of 7 for group plans. Premera did that and more. For people with autism, Premera continued to cover neurodevelopmental therapy past the age of 7 and for members with individual plans. Premera is forgoing additional appeals in the interest of resolving the matter and moving forward for its members.”
The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic Community
More With Autism Votes
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.