Mississippi State Senate has approved a new bill that requires insurance companies to cover autism screening, diagnosis and the treatments that are needed by children with autism.
Bill Requires Coverage Of Therapies
Mississippi’s Senate Bill #2581 was approved with a 39-6 vote while being met with strong opposition by the Tea Party conservatives. The bill requires that health insurance policies sold in the state cover treatments for autism such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for children with autism ages 2 through 8. Additionally, the legislation regulates the practice of ABA therapies within the state and will require providers of ABA therapies to obtain state licenses prior to practicing in Mississippi.
Why Should Autism Get Special Recognition?
Opponents of the bill led by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville questioned whether autism should be eligible for such special recognition. Further, they questioned why the state wouldn’t also mandate health insurance coverage for such conditions as diabetes, obesity and Attention Deficit Disorder. They argued that private insurers should not be forced by the state to cover autism treatments.
Applied Behavior Analysis Is One Of The Only Effective Treatments For Autism
Applied Behavior Analysis is recognized as the most effective treatment for autism at this time. It is the only treatment that has been shown to affect lasting and substantial improvements in the lives of those with autism. ABA intervention benefits children with autism in many cases by increasing language skills, IQ and improving social skills. According to the Center for Autism, many decades of research have validated ABA based treatments.
Autism In Mississippi
It is estimated that 10,000 children in Mississippi have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. About 1 in 68 children have autism and boys are 4 times more likely to have autism than girls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With no known cure, years of research shows that ABA therapy can lessen, if not eliminate many problems associated with the disorder.
So few families in Mississippi can afford the out of pocket costs related to ABA therapies that there are not many ABA providers in the state. Experts say that insurance reform would remedy that situation.
Creating Brighter Futures ABA Treatment Center
Over the past few years, this debate has been heating up in various state legislatures and in 2012 Michigan passed similar legislation that requires insurers to cover treatments for autism spectrum disorders. Creating Brighter Futures offers individualized ABA treatment for children with autism between the ages of 2 and 8. Our experienced and professional staff is available to help you navigate this uncertain time and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please call us at 734-926-0740 or complete our email form to email us your questions.