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New Legislation May Help Parents of Autistic Children

A new bill in the Virginia General Assembly may help parents with autistic children. House Bill 83 would require insurance providers to cover costs associated with treating autism. The cap for treatments has been set at $36,000 per year.

According to the Autism Society, the cost for medically treating an autistic child could cost a family $5 million over the course of a child’s lifetime. Each year, parents pay thousands for therapy and other medical necessities which may not be covered by insurance. However, insurance companies have pointed out that if they are required to cover such costs, it will probably mean raising insurance premiums.

As a parent of two autistic children, I am following this whole situation to see what actually comes of it all. I understand that other states, like Pennsylvania and South Carolina, have passed similar legislation aimed at providing financial relief for parents of autistic children. I wonder if this legislation has impacted families in these states in a positive or negative way. I also wonder about other parents who have children with other serious health conditions which have been financially devastating to them and shouldn’t they also be legally entitled to some sort of financial relief if such relief is given to parents of autistic children?

I’ve lost track of how much money our family has spent out of pocket dealing with the multiple issues that have challenged my children. I have to admit that I’ve not even seriously looked into some courses of therapy simply because I knew that we could never afford them. Because of this fact, I’ve spent a lot of time researching and trying to implement some of the successful therapy strategies into our daily lives. I’ve seen a lot of progress in my children over the years, but it’s been exhausting for me!

If passed, this legislation could change our lives radically. I’d like to believe that it would change our lives would for the better, but I am cautious. Would there be a number of bureaucratic ‘hurdles’ to deal with or would it be relatively painless to reap the benefits of this new legislation? I also wonder if there couldn’t be another way to help parents of special needs children cover some of their out of pocket medical expenses. There are a lot of issues and concerns to think about and the answers don’t seem to be very easy; at least from my perspective.

Does your state have a plan which covers autistic medical treatments? Do you support such legislation?


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