There is a treatment for autism that is called Advanced Behavioral Analysis, or ABA. It can be expensive, especially if your health insurance policy doesn’t cover it. Not all states require insurers to provide this type of coverage. This is leading some families to move out of the state they currently live in, and into a state that does require ABA coverage.
Applied Behavior Analysis, (ABA), is a scientific approach for evaluating behavior. It provides scientific information that helps guide behavioral therapy approaches. ABA is used as a form of treatment for autism. It teaches social, motor, and verbal behaviors, and it also teaches reasoning skills. It is especially helpful for children who have autism that are unable to naturally “pick up” social skills in the way that kids without autism are able to.
Some states require health insurance companies to include coverage for ABA therapy in standard health insurance policies. Some of those states include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Utah is one of the states that does not require insurance companies to cover the cost of ABA therapy. The result is that there are a growing number of families in Utah, who have children who have autism, who have moved out of Utah. Others are seriously considering moving out of state, and into a state that does require insurers to cover ABA therapy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found, in a recent report, that 1 out of 47 children in Utah have autism. This means that Utah has the highest rate of autism in the United States. Could this be why insurance companies in Utah are refusing to cover autism therapy? It wouldn’t surprise me if the insurers are refusing this coverage because they simply don’t want to pay for it.
SelectHealth is one of the biggest insurers in Utah. It insures around 500,000 people who live in Utah. This insurance company is claiming that “experts” disagree about the effectiveness of therapies that “address developmental or behavioral needs”. SelectHealth also says that its health plans “are intended to cover medical needs, rather than to modify behavior or achieve educational objectives”.
The result of this type of attitude is that people are leaving the state of Utah. Families who cannot afford to pay for the ABA therapy that their child needs are moving to states that will require health insurers to cover it. It would make so much more sense if Utah followed the example set by so many other states, and required health insurance companies to cover ABA.
Image by Ho John Lee on Flickr