The Dallas Morning News has taken a look at one group of people who will likely benefit from the new federal health-care law: parents of autistic children who spend thousands of dollars for treatments that their insurance companies won't cover. Writer Sarah Mueller explains:
The new federal regulations will prohibit spending caps, prevent insurers from excluding pre-existing conditions and behavioral health care, and extend dependent care to age 26. The rules are potentially good news for families struggling with costly treatments that can blur the line between medical and educational expenses and don't end with childhood.
The story quotes a Texas mom whose insurance company insisted her autistic son's treatment was "educational" and wouldn't pay for it. But as pointed out by
Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association:
...Autism is a medical condition and insurance companies should cover treatments such as applied behavior analysis, or ABA, which involves tutors who try to change behavioral patterns.
According to the advocacy organization Autism Votes, the new law requires some, but not all, health plans to cover the behavioral health treatment starting in 2014.