For many years, parents have been battling with insurance companies to have their autistic childrens’ behavioral therapies covered. There resiliency has caused many states to acquiesced to their requests. The first state to pass legislation was Indiana in 2001. Presently, there are 37 states and the District of Columbia who have legislation on the books with others considering the possibility.
The National Institute of Health conducted a study between 2001 and 2012 analyzing 30 states who passed the insurance mandates. Although these states had a higher incidence of autism, it was recorded they had a higher amount of pediatricians. These two indicators are evidence of a good infrastructure in place to help parents and doctors work together to discover the signs early.
The parents who live in states like California, Virginia and Maryland have been able to take advantage of the private insurance coverage. Studies have shown benefits for early diagnosis and treatment can lessen the amount of treatment costs paid over a lifetime. Treatments can include life skills, speech and behavioral therapy which can cost $10,000 to $100,000 per year.
For the unfortunate parents, who live in states like Wyoming, North Dakota, they are facing an uphill struggle. These states do not have the mandatory coverage, therefore they are relying on Medicaid. Medicaid programs are facing budget cuts. Their only other options are school services that could possibly be inadequate or parents are paying the expense on their own. These states are considered to have weaker infrastructures which includes lower incident of diagnosed cases and less doctors which makes it difficult to treat the kids at risk.