Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tip of the Day: Join the debate on autism coverage

Although President-elect Obama has made expanding access to health care and health coverage a cornerstone of his agenda, the Autism Partnership - an advocacy group based in Seal Beach, Calif. - cautions the adminstration and the general public against neglecting a particularly vulnerable group: children with autism.

Autism, also called autism spectrum disorder, is a pervasive developmental disability, typically characterized by delayed speech, impairments in social interaction and certain repetitive behaviors. Autism is the most prevalent disorder afflicting children; the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimate that one in every 150 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder. Although eight states have enacted coverage mandates for autism treatments, ERISA provisions prevent a national mandate.

Critics of coverage mandates usually suggest that requiring insurers to cover such treatments raises the cost of health care coverage for everyone. Proponents say covering early and aggressive treatment for autism can lessen costs over the long-term.

What do you think? Please comment and let me know. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.


Anonymous said...

This happens all the time. I used to participate in a plan that didn't cover well-baby care and immunizations. I have heard hospital administrators reject intensive diabetes clinics because they "make money on complications". Without a doubt, early intervention improves outcome, but the weight of funding it will pull it down.

EBN Editor Kelley M. Butler said...

Unbelievable. Thank you for the insightful comment. Just one of the many, many reasons health care reform can't happen fast enough.