Featured Article

Autism Bill Would Ensure Full Coverage from Insurance Companies
Article Audio

1:28 minutes (0.71 MB)
Download this Article
Share this Content

Democratic state leaders and health care advocates are supporting a bill that would ensure full insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism.  WNPR's Marie Kuhn reports.

The bill would require that all physician-prescribed therapies be covered while expanding the list of covered treatments.

Shannon Knall is the Connetcicut Advocacy Chair for the group Autism Speaks, and a mother of an autistic child. She says one of the myths is that children with autism can't learn.

"In fact, they can learn, they just need to learn differently which is through Applied Behavior Analysis, which is breaking everything down into bite size pieces so the mind that has Autism can digest it."

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA,  is one of the treatments that is currently not covered by health insurance providers. Knall says, if done appropriately and at an early age, ABA can be one of the most effective treatments for autistic children.

"It really can be the difference between a person being able to fulfill their potential in life, or... or not."

Last year, the state legislature passed an autism insurance mandate -- which went into effect earlier this month -- to include partial coverage for physical occupational, and speech therapy. However, it left out treatments like ABA, as well as psychological evaluations, and medications.

House Speaker Christopher Donovan is one of the bill's sponsors. He supports the legislation because it would help families who traditionally would opt out of treatments for their children due to high costs. He says early intervention would lead to positive, long term results for families and for the state.