Insurance Coverage for Autism Now: Michigan's plight

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Neil Patrick Carrick started a Facebook web page called Insurance Coverage for Autism Now to bring awareness to the plight of the autism community: lack of health insurance coverage for those on the spectrum. It is not even a case of being affordable health insurance coverage; in many states, it does not even exist.

Mr. Carrick lives in the state of Michigan and has six kids. One of his kids has a form of autism called PDD/NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder/Not Otherwise Specified). When asked why he got involved with the movement for health insurance, he replies, that his son, and his son’s half-brother are the reason, along with his son’s mother. “We never been married and I [have] seen her struggle greatly. But she’s been a real trooper.”

Mr. Carrick has also founded multiple non-profit organizations in his area. “The primary ones for spectrum and ADD/ADHD are Michigan Indigo Children and Families Network, Michigan Rocks Autism, and multiple groups about legislation and litigation concerning coverage of Autism. All of the groups are now part of the parent group All Souls Society, a faith based community organization.”

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“I started the page because while there are other similar groups most people who started them know little about how to effectively use social networking, and people need to know what is going on” Indeed, Mr. Carrick shared a news story on his website about recent legislation efforts for his state and pointed to the content as why insurance legislation is not going to work for residents of Michigan this year.

The article shared was written by Jay Greene of the Crain’s Detroit Business online publication. Users cannot read the article unless they have a subscription or membership to the website. However, the full text of the article was copied onto the Facebook page Insurance Coverage for Autism Now.

The article details the fight from both sides of the party line, with neither side willing to say that a vote on legislation will come to the floor this year. Mr. Greene quoted Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) giving it a 50 percent chance that legislation to mandate insurance coverage for autism therapy will be voted on this fall. The Senate is Republican-controlled. But even Democrat members are seeing issues.

Another issue as Mark Reinstein, president of the Mental Health Association in Michigan is also quoted as saying is that the autism therapy should not get its own bill and should be part and parcel with other mental health issues.

It is not hard to figure out why Mr. Carrick has sought litigation over legislation with all these problems facing Michigan residents. With politics being played, thousands in that state are paying the costs: the children and adults with autism. It can be done via legislation, but not with all the political games being held across both sides of the aisle. If litigation can gain just one family health insurance coverage for autism therapy, that would lead to more families successfully suing to get health care coverage and the politics can be bypassed. It should not have to be this way.

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