Many of us have seen this or at least heard the song. It means so much more to us right now than it typically does. Utah is trying to follow the footsteps of 29 other states including Colorado, Arizona and Nevada that have enacted autism insurance reform laws. Below is a summary of House Bill 69 (if you just want to know how to help please scroll down to the end of the post!):
House Bill 69 – Sponsored by State Representatives Ronda Rudd Menlove (R-Garland)
The bill would:
- require providers of accident or health insurance policies to include coverage for the treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders
- establish a $50,000 minimum annual benefit for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy
- require coverage to include:
- psychiatric treatment
- psychological treatment
- occupational therapy
- speech therapy
- medical treatment
- The bill would apply to all accident and health insurance policies issued or renewed starting January 1, 2013
I believe a lot of people aren’t even aware of the fact that insurance doesn’t cover treatments for autism. We pay our premiums, and yet our child is unable to utilize valuable services that will help him become a functioning (tax paying, voting) member of the community. We have chosen to pay for some therapies out of our pocket but we are unable to afford a lot. What we have been able to pay for has been amazing for him, just imagine how spectacular it could be if he was able to use these therapies full-time! Why wouldn’t you want to cover proven effective services for children with autism now so they will be able to work later (and pay taxes and insurance premiums) as opposed to having them remain untreated because parent’s can’t afford to cover the cost and therefore remain in the system and disabled for their entire life. It’s a no brainer to me.
Think this doesn’t mean anything to you because you don’t have a child with autism… think again. I am in Deeds classroom on a weekly basis volunteering. There are 6 teachers/aids in the class with only 12 kids with autism. Including me that makes 7 adults. When one child starts having behavior issues it will disrupt the entire class of 12 while multiple adults handle the situation.
What you should know is that many of the kids in that particular class will most likely be put in a mainstream classroom with your typical children once they are in elementary school. Imagine one teacher, maybe with an aid, in a class of 30+ students. What happens now when the child has behavior issues? The entire class suffers, the teacher is stuck trying to do her best but the entire situation could be eased greatly if the child has had effective behavior therapies.
This is an issue that all Utahn’s should be concerned about, not just those touched daily by autism. A fact you might not know is that in Utah 1 in 77 eight year old children has some form of autism. You never know when it might be your child, your grandchild, or even a neighbor that will thank you one day for taking action now on this insurance bill.
I want to be able to do everything in my power to give Deeds EVERY chance in life. This is something I want for him, and so many other families. Autism, even higher functioning forms of it, is a heartbreaking struggle of ups and downs. It adds a lot of stress, even for those of us with positive outlooks on life. Battling insurance is devastating. Hearing of a spectacular behavior therapy that could help but then finding out your insurance will not even consider it and you can’t afford it will rip your heart out.
If your child needed a hearing aid, you’d get coverage.
Cerebral Palsy? Covered.
Autism? Good luck mom…..
Lets end the insurance discrimination! The government even sees it as a disability and yet we can’t help these amazing people reach their full potential.
Jeremy and I have decided to become advocates for the bill and will actually be spending time at capital hill this next few months helping to educate those that make the decisions.
UTAH, HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Go to www.autismvotes.com and register for updates. While on the site you can look up your representatives and email them! Let your leaders know you want action taken. Share a quick paragraph about your story.
Got a cell phone? You can also text “AVOTES” to 30644 to get updates and info.