A Busy Week
It was a busy week. It never seems that we get more than a couple of days notice as to when there will be a hearing or committee meeting for SB 414, 415 and 981, the bills are known as the autism cost reduction act. This week was no difference, we found out on Tuesday that there was a hearing scheduled for Thursday which also happened to be Erin’s birthday. The autism cost reduction act will require that private insurance pay for therapy for people with autism, this includes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). However before the bills were brought up they voted to accept amendments to all three bills.
The amendments have yet to be published so we are not totally sure of the impact of the changes. We do know of two changes the first being that children must be re-tested every three years to verify the child still has there diagnosis. This is not a problem Noah is re-evaluated every few months to make a treatment plan. The other major change is a change to the yearly monetary cap for services. The bills as they passed the senate had a $50,000 per year cap for ABA therapy. To us this meant that insurance would pay $50,000 a year out of the $60,000 we currently pay out-of-pocket for Noah’s therapy. The change is that the yearly cap is dependant on the child’s age, up to age 7 the cap remains $50,000 per year, ages 8 to 13 the cap is lowered to $40,000 a year and from ages 14 to 18 the cap is lowered again to $30,000 a year. The reason for reducing the caps is that normally as children with autism get early intervention and as they get older less therapy is needed. The change that is more upsetting to people is that it cuts off people at 18. The bills as it passed the senate were better for families that are affected by autism, however the bills as they stand are better than nothing.
As I said before Thursday was Erin’s birthday, I won’t say how old she is. It wasn’t the best birthday for Erin as she was not feeling well but she made it through and she had an awesome cake!