[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
United Healthcare announces ABA coverage as standard benefit
June 24, 2016
For 10 years, Autism Speaks has been working with families across the United States to convince state legislatures to require coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and other autism treatments, and to convince self-funded employers to voluntarily offer such coverage. One of the biggest developments in our decade-long effort to ensure coverage for all individuals on the spectrum was announced this month by United Healthcare.
Starting in 2017, United Healthcare will make ABA coverage part of its standard benefits package. In other words, ABA will be a part of all fully-funded group plans, regardless of whether that plan was issued in a state that has passed an autism insurance mandate.
“UnitedHealthcare currently covers ABA for the treatment of autistic spectrum disorder for our fully insured commercial membership where required by law and for self-funded plans that elect to include ABA benefit coverage, “ UnitedHealthcare stated in a release to its brokers. “Beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017, UnitedHealthcare will be extending ABA benefit coverage to new and renewing fully insured small and large group plans in the few remaining states that do not mandate ABA coverage.”
“This is the one of the most significant developments ever for families who need access to ABA,” said Lorri Unumb, Esq., vice president of state government affairs at Autism Speaks. “For years, we have slogged through — state-by-state, company-by-company — to help each and every family who reaches out to us in need. With one fell swoop, the nation’s largest health care insurer has now validated and standardized health insurance coverage of ABA.”
Many Autism Speaks volunteer advocates reacted to the news with elation. Kristin Jacobson, of California, said “I predict this is the beginning of the end of autism exclusions!!!”
Some states have passed autism insurance mandates that are limited to certain markets, such as the state employee health plan.
Regarding the self-funded market, through which a quarter of all Americans get their health insurance, UnitedHealthcare now “recommends that self-funded plans that currently exclude ABA consider removing that exclusion at next renewal.”
United Healthcare (UHC) announced it was making this change because it recognizes “the growing interest in ABA among many consumers and in the marketplace.” UHC cited the number of states that mandate ABA coverage of the treatment of autism as a factor in its decision.
UHC also noted that a “growing number” of self-funded plans are providing coverage for ABA “based on member demand and other market forces.”
Under the new policy, coverage for ABA under a self-funded plan will be included if the plan does not expressly exclude ABA, starting January 1, 2017.
This is big news for all autism families across the country but especially in states like Alabama, Ohio, and Tennessee, where no mandate has passed and little-to-no coverage exists.
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.