Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mourning a Death

Yesterday, I watched HB 1588 die in committee. It would have required private health insurance to cover autism-related therapies, including ABA, speech and occupational therapies. I invested my time and my emotions in getting this passed, for our family and the many others who are trying to help their kids with autism.

I'm just completely heartbroken that our elected officials don't see this injustice. Autism is a treatable medical issue, yet health insurance companies don't have to cover it? In Virginia, the Medicaid waiver waiting list is 6-8 years old. This means that autism families are left completely on their own to cover the $30,000-plus annual bills from getting their kids services.

I just can't believe that the insurance lobby won again. Call me naive, but I felt things changing....I really thought we would win. Let's just say that my post-inaugural euphoria has completely deflated.


Razzy said...

I'm really sorry Jen. This totally sucks.

Maksymov Family said...
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beth said...

I'm sorry too. How can we change all this??? Health Insurance issues are the worst. :(

Belle said...

Wow, I had no idea that autism is not covered by insurance. How can that be? Does any insurance company cover treatments for autism? I'm really sorry to hear this news.

Jen said...


Some insurance companies will pay for speech or occupational therapies if the child can be diagnosed with a speech or motor problem...but most won't treat for autism per say. A very select few insurance companies will pay for autism therapies for very young children under a developmental delay diagnosis. In other words, there are a few ways to get around it, but in the vast majority of cases, they don't get covered.

We have really excellent health insurance. We get partial coverage for Noe's speech therapies and that's about it. Once in a while we will get them to pay an ABA claim, but the vast majority are denied. We can't fight them because they don't legally have to pay out. This will all end when Noe turns 7, which apparently is the magic age that he should be cured.

It makes me want to cry whenever I think about all of the kids who need help and don't get it because of the insurance lobby. And also all the parents who are working extra jobs, going bankrupt, etc. to get their kids help. It is so crazy unfair. I understand that insurance should not have to pay for experimental/alternative treatments. But ABA, speech, occupational....they are all well- documented to produce gains in kids on the spectrum.