[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
6 States Ring In New Year With Stronger Autism Insurance Laws
January 05, 2015
Thousands of children with autism now have access to new or enhanced insurance benefits to cover behavioral health treatment and physical, occupational and speech therapies in six states with the start of the new year. Meanwhile, campaigns to deliver or strengthen those same benefits for thousands more children will soon rev up in state legislatures around the nation, including Georgia and North Carolina where state employees gained coverage starting January 1.
Coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism became available January 1 in Nebraska and Maryland, and for new policies issued in Oregon and Washington. Expanded benefits took effect in Kansas and Maine. A total of 38 states now require some coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism, including Utah where benefits will become available in 2016.
Light green denotes states with new coverage; dark green states have expanded coverage for 2015
“We enter 2015 with tremendous momentum to bring new or improved autism insurance coverage to more states so that more children can gain access to life-changing treatment,” said Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks’ vice president for state government affairs. “The number of children diagnosed with autism continues to grow, adding urgency to our efforts in state legislatures, the courts and corporate human resources offices to make autism insurance coverage as widely available as possible.”
Nebraska became the 36th state to enact autism insurance reform in April 2014. The Nebraska law requires coverage for state-regulated policies through age 20 for ABA and speech, occupational and physical therapies; ABA coverage is capped at 25 hours per week.
A month later, Maryland became the 37th state to enact reform by virtue of new state regulations and the enactment of a law expanding access to ABA practitioners. The Maryland law requires coverage for at least 25 hours per week of behavioral health treatment for children aged 18 months through age 5; decreasing to a minimum of 10 hours per week for ages 6 through 18.
Washington was declared the 38th state to enact reform in late 2014 after state regulators ordered all state-regulated health plans to start covering autism treatment in 2015 and to reconsider all claims for coverage that had been rejected since 2006. The order resulted from a series of class action lawsuits that led to settlements prohibiting any exclusions, age limits, monetary caps or visit limits for coverage of autism treatment.
Similar legal action led Oregon, which became the 34th state to enact reform in 2013, to accelerate and strengthen its required coverage. The Oregon law was to start phasing in this year, but was accelerated and the coverage broadened under an order issued late last year by the state insurance commissioner. Similar to Washington state, the Oregon order was prompted by a ruling in a class action lawsuit.
Coverage in Kansas is now available under many state-regulated health plans after a prolonged legislative campaign succeeded in 2014 to expand the state’s original 2010 law which limited coverage to state employees. The new coverage provides up to 25 hours a week of ABA coverage for children up to age 12, declining after four years to 10 hours per week.
The Maine Legislature voted to expand its 2010 law requiring coverage through age 5 up to age 10. Gov. Paul LePage vetoed the bill, but the Legislature voted to override the veto to make the bill law.
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.