Beginning in 2017, the insurance for federal employees must cover applied behavior analysis therapy for children on the plan. This important move means the United State’s largest employer is taking “a step in the right direction.”
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management began giving insurers the option of offering applied behavior analysis therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders instead of using an educational intervention for them beginning in 2013. The new requirement does not allow insurers to exclude the popular therapy any longer.
The change in coverage is very good news for the parents of more than 8 million participants currently enrolled in federal employee health insurance plans. It gives children living with autism spectrum disorders access to research-based therapy for positive outcomes. This option removes the decision from the insurance company and gives parents more choices as they determine the best options available for their children.
President/CEO of the Autism Society of America, Scott Badesch recommends parents research the available treatment options and talk with professionals in order to select the best option for their children. His organization would like for parents to have insurers offer more options and financial support for treatment.
While the ruling is good news for government employees and their families, it does not extend to those working in the private sector or who have other types of insurance. Currently 43 states require that all insurers provide coverage, with the rest leaving the decision up to carriers.