The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that an average of one in 110 children have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). That adds up to around 730,000 people between the ages of 0 and 21 with an ASD.
Most health professionals agree that early intervention treatment programs are vital. Treatment options may include behavioral and educational interventions, complementary and alternative medicine, dietary changes or medications to manage or relieve the symptoms of autism. Some families may spend more than $50,000 per year on autism-related therapies, such as applied behavior analysis.
A total of 34 states and the District of Columbia have laws related to autism and insurance coverage.
Most of the legislation to provide coverage for autism has been passed in the last four years. In 2011, Arkansas, California, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia enacted legislation requiring insurance coverage for autism spectrum.
On Tuesday, Michigan took a key step towards following suit.
The state Senate passed measures by 29-9 and 28-10 votes. Democrats supported the measures while Republicans who hold the majority in the Senate were divided. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, voted against the bills.
The bills now advance to the Republican-led Michigan House.
“Making sure health insurance plans provide coverage for autism disorders is a common sense way to ensure those diagnosed have access to the therapies and treatments that will greatly improve their quality of life and help them reach their full potential,” Sen. Mike Green, a Republican from Mayville and a bill sponsor, said in a statement.
Information on each state’s autism insurance law is available on the National Conference of State Legislature website.