Autism Insurance Reform passes the Michigan Senate and is signed into law by the Governor .
Michigan has joined the growing number of 30 states adopting autism insurance reform. On April 18, 2012 the autism insurance reform bills (Senate bills 414, 415 and 981) were signed into law mandating health insurers to cover autism spectrum disorders and treatment. This is the first step in developing a comprehensive system that will support families with consistent educational information, a centralized source of community resources, and financial relief for the cost of treatment.
The bills define the autism spectrum disorders as any of the following pervasive developmental disorders defined in the DSM IV-TR: autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. With an official diagnosis, evidenced-based treatment will be funded by the insurers for behavioral health, pharmacy care, psychiatric care, psychological care and therapeutic care.
A recent report by the CDC indicated that the number of children diagnosed with autism by the age of eight has risen by at least 25% since 2006, leaving many Michigan families in need of help they cannot afford.
“The Autism Spectrum Disorder legislation for health insurance coverage is essential for children living with ASD. These specialists and therapies are just as important to an autistic child’s life as they are for a child who has cancer!” Melissa Rohn the mother of Lukas our Ambassador Child of 2012.
Eater Seals Michigan offers a specialized array of services for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The infant mental health team works with caregivers to foster attachment and relationships with their children. The PLAY Project is an intensive, early intervention program for children 18 months to 8 years; occupational therapy (OT) improves children’s fine and gross motor skills, visual perception and their ability to perform everyday activities; speech and language therapy provides evaluations and ongoing therapy to enhance receptive and expressive communication, speech and sound production and functional communication; sensory integration improves the brain’s ability to register, organize and interpret information using all of the child’s senses.