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Autism Insurance Coverage in the Workplace: Companies That Give You the Extra Help

Autism Insurance Coverage

Working while being a parent is hard enough without the added expenses of an autistic child at home, his or her therapies, doctor visits and problems with finding the proper day care that could be countered with the existence of autism-specific health insurance. Certain companies have now joined hands with parents like you who require the extra funding to be able to keep your home from drowning in debt due to the hefty expenses a child with autism incurs for the household. Certain companies care about their employees enough and have the extra funding needed to help families tide over until the children are no longer needing as much of the support.

Facts you should know:

  • 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism
  • 1 in 50 school children are diagnosed with autism
  • 1 in 54 males in Canada are likely to be diagnosed, versus 1 in 252 females
  • Male children are 4x more likely to be diagnosed in the US, 5x more likely in Canada
  • If one child has ASD, there's a 2-18% chance that a second will also be on the spectrum
  • If one twin has ASD, there's a 36-95% that the other will also be on the spectrum if identical, and 0-31% if fraternal.
  • Medical costs for families with ASD children are an average of $4,110–$6,200 per year higher than without ASD in the family. Average Medicaid-enrolled children's costs could be as high as $10,709 per child, and additional intensive behavior intervention costs could range up to $40-60,000 per child. That is one hefty amount that not everyone has the ability to spend.
  • It costs about $3.2 million to take care of an autistic person over his or her lifetime, according to a 2006 Harvard study.

Autism is not a disease. It cannot be cured as it is something one is born with and not contracted later in life. It is a genetic disorder aggravated by certain environmental issues that begins the day a child is born. It can lead to intense meltdowns that seem to have no option for prevention, alongside sleep issues that may sometimes be resolved with the use of weighted blankets and the need for natural or synthetic medication like Melatonin.

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Children as young as the tender age of 12 months can now be diagnosed on the spectrum. Anything from scalding hot baths to therapies involving the ingestion of whipworm eggs, as well as special diets with foods to avoid and foods to look for, have been suggested to help quell autistic behavior.

With all this said and done, parents can use all the help they can get. This includes autism-specific insurance that covers the costs of the most taxing therapies autistic children need to attend. Companies that currently offer such an insurance, according to a late Reuters article, include:

  • JPMorgan will begin January 2014, adding comprehensive autism coverage for expensive intensive therapies such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
  • General Motors Co. will announce coverage
  • United Technologies Corp. will announce coverage
  • Chrysler Group will announce coverage
  • American Express Co. will announce coverage
  • Microsoft Corp. has coverage
  • Intel Corp. has coverage
  • Capital One Bank pays 100% of the cost
  • TriCare has coverage
  • American Express, the article claims, "in addition to now covering ABA under its health plan, provides guidance for employees with autistic children on topics including educational rights, estate planning and childcare. The company is also in the process of establishing a special-needs support network, pairing parents of recently diagnosed children with those have older offspring with autism."

36 out of 50 States currently have autism-specific insurance coverage as part of their laws, with 26 of them funding ABA costs in part or in full as well. The specifics of the laws for each state concerning this insurance can be found in the Autism Speaks FAQ section, where it is presented in very simple terms.

Many insurers still categorize ABA as an experimental treatment, even though it has been endorsed by some of the countries trusted institutions (including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Medical Association) because of a lack of long-term research on its effectiveness, and have generally refused to cover it. Insurance companies state that premiums could also see a 1-3% rise, which might make it unaffordable for most families in the United States. Obamacare might be making the definition of "essential benefits" clear and a national standard by 2016, but states are allowed to make their own decisions on what they enforce at the moment.

Needless to say, corporations that can afford to provide autism-specific insurance coverage should do so, essentially increasing the workforce available for hire in the country and providing the necessary therapies for children with autism from a young age, knowing well that early intervention could make a world of difference in this sphere.