autism

Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that Missouri had levied its largest fine ever for insurance law violations against two Aetna companies.

Nixon said Aetna Life Insurance Co. and Aetna Health Insurance Co. had agreed to pay $4.5 million for violating a 2010 state law that requires insurers to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

If Aetna complies with the settlement agreement, $1.5 million of the fine will be suspended, a news release from Nixon’s office said.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Parenting is a tough job for anyone, but raising children with autism, who often have behavioral or communication problems, can be especially demanding.

Research has shown that parents of children with autism are at increased risk of depression.

But in Kansas City, some of these mothers and fathers are finding a measure of respite, and sympathetic ears, through comedy.

On a recent Thursday night, a handful of parents with kids who have autism took a break from parenting and faced down their latest challenge: stage fright.

Comedy can come from unexpected sources, for example, parents of children who have autism. It can be hard for these parents to talk about their particular parenting experiences, and to laugh about the funny (and even challenging) moments. During an event called An Evening With The Rents at the Gem  Theater, KCUR announcer and newscaster Jenny Whitty shared her experience about parenting kids on the autism spectrum.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Just after picking him up from day care, Wendy Santillan serves her son, Raoul, milk and cookies.

Raoul, a 3-year-old with a crew cut and big brown eyes, happily devours his snack. But Wendy says she noticed early on some unusual behavior in her son.

“When he was 18 months, he starts to play with the toys in a different way,” she says. “He used to pass the toy (along) the corner of his eye, and that wasn’t normal at all to me.”

The Kansas House member who last session championed a bill that expanded insurance coverage for autism treatment said it may be adjusted in the upcoming legislative session.

Rep. John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican who was re-elected last week, said he will propose changes to House Bill 2744, which was a compromise struck between insurance companies and autism treatment advocates.

Insurance companies will begin covering autism services next January for a limited number of children in Kansas. A bill mandating such coverage has been signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback.

“So I am pleased to sign this bill today, expanding coverage for autism. This is an important moment for families that deal with the challenges of an autistic family member, and it’s important that we do this as a society," the governor said.

A bill awaiting Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s signature would require health insurance sold in the state to include coverage for autism services--at least in a limited fashion. 

The bill sent to the governor last week includes coverage for Applied Behavioral Analysis. 

Representative John Rubin, of Shawnee, guided the bill through the House.  He says research shows ABA is the most effective form of therapy for a majority of kids with autism, but it needs to start in the preschool years…

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.

At the beginning of 2014, Kansas House Bill 2531 was introduced. This bill proposes insurance coverage for autism therapy for children , but many believe the coverage is not sufficient.

On today's Central Standard we discuss what Kansas will do about the shortcomings of this bill and what the proposed solutions might be. Also, we explore exactly what ABA is and how the therapy works to improve behavioral issues in children with autism.

Guests:

To call raising kids with with autism or autism spectrum disorder a challenge would probably be underselling it ... by quite a bit.

For many parents of kids with autism, maintaining a sense of humor is an essential component. Those experiences will be illustrated by some Kansas City area parents in An Evening with the Rents where they will deliver stand-up comedy routines centered around living with children on the spectrum.

One of the problems of autism is that its origins are still fairly mysterious. But a more pressing, everyday concern for parents is how to pay for therapy for their children without going bankrupt.

brains the head / Flickr-CC

The Missouri Department of Insurance has issued its largest penalty to date, to health insurance company, Aetna. 

Lots of kids get bullied. But kids with autism are especially vulnerable.

A new survey by the Interactive Autism Network found that nearly two-thirds of children with autism spectrum disorders have been bullied at some point. And it found that these kids are three times as likely as typical kids to have been bullied in the past month.

Scientists have found one more reason that pregnancy and obesity can be a bad combination.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics suggests that moms who are obese or have diabetes are more likely to have a child with autism or another developmental problem.

The finding is "worrisome in light of this rather striking epidemic of obesity" in the U.S., says Irva Hertz-Picciotto from the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, one of the study's authors.

There was a time when a child born deaf had few choices. For more than a century, the only option for parents was to send their son or daughter away to a boarding school for the deaf. There, the children and the schools thrived in the shadows, embracing a distinct culture of silent communication.

Recent advances in medicine and technology are now reshaping what it means to be deaf in America. Children who could never hear a sound are now adults who can hear everything. That's having a dramatic impact on the nation's historic deaf schools as well as the lives of people.

There comes a time in every marriage when many wives begin to wonder “What the heck is wrong with my husband’s brain?!”

Kansas City, MO – Missouri's autism insurance mandate takes effect this month. The law requires insurance companies to cover autism therapies for children. The state's gearing up to license therapists to do the work, but as KCUR's Elana Gordon reports, that process is just getting underway.
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Missouri's new law requires state-regulated insurance companies to cover up to $40,000 a year in an intensive therapy, called applied behavioral analysis (ABA), for children up to the age of 18.

Springfield, Missouri – For families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, it's been a long time coming. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has signed into law a bill that requires insurance companies regulated by the state to provide coverage to children with autism. KSMU's Jennifer Moore attended the bill-signing press conference in Springfield yesterday and has this report.

 

Jefferson City, Mo. – A revised bill that would require insurance companies to cover some of the cost of therapy for children with autism has passed the Missouri Senate.

The bill mandates that health insurance companies provide up to $45,000 a year in coverage for kids with autism age 18 and younger. That's $10,000 a year less than the original Senate bill, and it drops those ages 19 and 20 from being eligible.

Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas legislature has approved a bill requiring autism coverage for state employees.

Senator Tim Owens is an Overland Park Republican who has two grandsons with autism. He says the bill's passage marks a big step forward.

"The state program is a very narrow program of individuals who are involved," says Owens. "But, I would hope that we can move faster than a year or two before that test case proves the value, and then we can open it up to the other families."

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has passed legislation requiring group insurance plans regulated by the state to cover autism treatment.

The Senate bill would mandate that companies cover up to $55,000 a year for treatment of autism patients younger than 21.

GOP Senator Scott Rupp of St. Charles County sponsored the legislation.

"We're doing our job in the state, the families are doing their job, the schools are doing their job," Rupp told lawmakers. "When, insurance industry, are you going to start doing yours?!?"