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Getting Health Insurance for an Autistic Child

written by: brandieewine • edited by: Linda Richter • updated: 2/21/2011

It is no secret that getting health insurance for an autistic child can be a very frustrating prospect. Autistic children often require various therapies including speech, occupational and developmental therapy. The parent may also encounter additional bills for the child's psychiatric care.

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    Be Informed

    Many health insurance policies simply do not cover expenses related to autism. Therefore, parents are forced to search for individual policies to cover their autistic children’s healthcare expenses.

    The first rule in getting health insurance for an autistic child is to be informed. For example, in the following states all health insurance sold must offer coverage for costs associated with autism: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. Attempts are also being made to pass this legislation in New Hampshire and Maine. Each state has individual designations and rules concerning insurance for autistic children. Do the research and determine which rule applies.

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    Use All Programs Available

    There are programs such as Medicaid or other public health care services which offer assistance to those who are unable to succeed in getting health insurance for an autistic child. Usually these programs are based on income. Often families mistakenly assume their income is too great to apply for public health care. It is advisable to research the income requirements. Recent laws have increased coverage for millions of children who would not have otherwise qualified.

    Children in homes that are not financially eligible for Medicaid can still receive assistance by meeting certain disability guidelines. The local department of social services can provide information on qualification guidelines. Those who do not qualify for public health service may be eligible for other assistance programs through state offices.

    Additionally, those who exceed income guidelines for government insurance programs can still obtain assistance through autism assistance organizations. For example, Talk about Curing Autism (see link below) offers scholarship programs to assist families with the expense of treatment options. Local churches and other goodwill organizations are also available to assist with medical expenses. Older children may receive speech and occupational services through their school districts.

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    Network

    Perform an online search for autism organizations. Families that have experienced the struggle with finding health insurance for an autistic child will all agree that advice from experienced families is vital. They can offer information on receiving services or finding an insurance company. A great example of one of these organizations would be autismspeaks.org, which offers information to families concerning insurance for an autistic child. There are also forums to speak with people in other families. Veteran families can usually recommend the best insurance companies or give tips on obtaining services. Join groups for families of autistic children and attend meetings. These meetings give families the opportunity to discuss treatment options, financial assistance, and tips for all areas of living with autism.

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    References

    Exkorn Karen Siff Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping, and Healing-From a Mother Whose Child Recovered Harper Collins 2006

    Sieglel Bryna PHD Getting the Best for Your Child with Autism Guilford Press 2008

    Quinn Campion, Quinn Campion E 100 Questions and Answers about Autism: Expert Advice from a Physician/Parent Caregiver Jones and Bartlett Learning 2005

    Talk About Curing Autism: http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/

    Autism Speaks: http://www.autismspeaks.org/community/resources/index.php

    US Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Eligibility: http://www.cms.gov/MedicaidEligibility/