New research from the Centers for Disease Control suggests that the prevalence of autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders in children is much higher than previously thought. The study, released March 20 of this year, underscores the need for a national standard of care for those living within the spectrum.
The new CDC research shows that 1 in every 50 children in the United States between the ages of 6 and 17 are affected by autism. That is considerably higher from the previously accepted number of 1 in 88, and is much more in line with the autism rate in Utah. CDC Researchers once believed that Utah had the highest rate of autism in the country at 1 in every 47 children.
Currently, states are able to create their own legislation for insurance mandates to cover autism treatment. Utah, with its high prevalence of autism, has so far been unable to pass legislation that helps cover autism treatments such as Applied Behavior Analysis. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the most recent attempt at insurance reform in Utah was changed so that no insurance requirements for coverage were included in the bill.
A national standard of care would help to even the playing field so that children with autism can access the same treatment options regardless of which state they live in. The Obama administration did not include any mention of autism therapy in the essential benefits portion of his healthcare plan, according to Disability Scoop. Without this inclusion, states must decide whether or not insurance companies must cover autism treatments. A federal advisory panel has recommended to the Obama administration that wording be added to the current health care law so that autism treatments are covered by insurance companies.
Autism treatment can be a major expense for families, and many parents find that they simply cannot afford to pay for regular therapy. A national mandate for insurance coverage would ensure that children throughout the United States receive the same standard of care no matter what state they live in.