by Maryanne Nugent, Director of Marketing & Family Support, AHSS
Families of children with autism have many day-to-day concerns. However, most people don’t realize that obtaining insurance coverage for medically necessary therapies is one of the biggest.
Fortunately in 2008, the Illinois Autism Act was passed which guaranteed coverage for families who had a “fully insured” insurance policy, such as an individually purchased policy, or a small employer group policy. These families were free to access Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, which is the most frequently prescribed treatment for Autism. However, the majority of families (approximately 70% of the insured in Illinois) that have a work-related, self-funded policy were left out of this mandate and remained without coverage for ABA.
Over the past seven years, businesses with self-funded insurance plans have begun to recognize the importance of providing Autism Benefits. In 2008, approximately 10% of these companies voluntarily covered ABA. A 2013 report published by a leading health care consulting firm showed that number had risen to 36%! This increase is thanks to the advocacy of groups like Autism Speaks, individual employees, and sympathetic, progressive HR executives!
We at AHSS want to thank these Illinois-based companies that have voluntarily added Autism benefits to their plans, and we want to celebrate the success of those advocates who worked to make change. AHSS is publishing our first annual Honor Roll of Autism Champion Employers. Thank you for providing the opportunity for thousands of children affected by Autism to achieve real progress towards their hopes and dreams!
The 2015 Illinois Autism Champion Employers are:
- Advocate Health Care
- Aon Insurance
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL
- McDonalds Corporation
- Nicor Gas
There is still work to be done! If your employer does not offer Autism benefits you can get help with advocacy from Autism Speaks. Visit their website or contact Maryanne Nugent at AHSS, [email protected]. Every child deserves this medically necessary therapy!