Tennessee has long been the final holdout state when it comes to mandating that some level of insurance coverage must be available for the treatment of autism. Now that Tennessee has come on board, all 50 states in the U.S. have a similar mandate in place.
Prior to these mandates being enacted, insurance companies were able to define their own mental health benefits. As a result, many insurers neglected to include coverage for autism treatment. Now that these mandates have been passed, all insurers must include some form of autism coverage as part of their covered mental health benefits.
Lorri Unumb, CEO of the Council of Autism Service Providers spoke with the Disability Scoop about these new mandates and the impact they are having. “When I started down this advocacy path a dozen years ago, the only families who could access ABA for their children with autism were wealthy families and those lucky enough to live in the few states (that funded therapy programs),” said Unumb, “Now, most families in the United States have coverage for ABA.”
While Tennessee coming on board is a big win for the treatment of autism, there is still a lot of work to be done. Many of the states that already have a mandate only insist on coverage for children with autism. That means that adults with autism are still going to find themselves without coverage most of the time.
“The country is a patchwork of autism laws,” said Unumb, “The mandates are really strong in some states and somewhat weak in others.”
To see if your insurance policy includes autism coverage, or to inquire about an entirely new policy, we encourage you to reach out to TGS Insurance at www.tgsinsurance.com.