Central Standard
4:31 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Challenges For Autism Coverage Looming in Kansas

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) autism therapy often requires one-on-one instruction.
Credit Ministere du Travail, de I'Emploi et de la sante / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Autism advocates argue that legislation being considered in Kansas falls short of best practices for treating the disorder.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 88 children in the United States has autism

It’s a disorder that impairs a variety of verbal and non-verbal communication skills. For some, the effects can be mild, but for others, the symptoms can be so severe that they leave individuals unable to care for themselves.

In response to this public health issue, Missouri passed a law in 2010 requiring insurers to provide coverage of certain autism therapies.

One of the more common and clinically successful therapies is Applied Behavior Analysis.

For a number of those who fall along the autism spectrum, early intervention and intense ABA therapy can give individuals the tools to lead full and happy and unassisted lives.  

Autism advocates claim that to be effective it can take 30 to 40 hours of treatment a week from diagnosis until age 19.

But in legislation currently proposed in the Kansas Legislature, the mandate to Kansas insurers would be limited to the equivalent of 10 hours a week and cap out at age 9.

With advocates and insurance companies still at odds, lawmakers are still trying to reach a compromise on legislation that would expand autism coverage in Kansas, KHI News Service reports.

On Wednesday's Central Standard, we looked at autism and the various therapies. We also explored what's at stake for families across Kansas.

Listen to the audio above for the full conversation.