Bills introduced in the Ohio House and Senate would clarify that autism spectrum disorders should be covered under the state’s Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 and include it as a basic health care need to be covered by health insurers in the state.
Marla Root with the Autism Society of Ohio says many families spend tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket so their children have access to critical care and therapy.
In the past four decades, there’s been a thousand-percent increase in the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders, impacting one in 88 individuals.
But it is treatable, and Root says early intervention is critical to future success for those with autism.
Root says most families lack the proper training and supports to care for their loved ones, which can lead to bad outcomes for the individual and the community.
Root says besides helping those impacted by an autism spectrum disorder, expanding coverage and offering more services and therapies will also spur jobs that will create revenue opportunities for Ohio.
32 states, including all others in the Midwest, have enacted legislation requiring state-regulated health plans to provide coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Critics have argued that amending the statute will cause insurance premiums to skyrocket, but Root says evidence from other states shows the average cost increase is 31 cents per member per month.
To further protect insurers, she says House Bill 598 and Senate Bill 381 provide for annual maximum dollar caps for benefit coverage.