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Parents Say State Regulators Let Insurers Off the Hook When it Comes to Treating Autism

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Aired 4/20/09

 

California regulators say health plans must cover physical and speech therapy for children who have autism. But regulators are not requiring insurers to pay for a type of behavioral therapy parents say is extremely effective. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

 

Applied behavior analysis involves one-on-one training that helps patients develop motor and verbal skills. Studies show it can be successful when used as an early intervention tool with children who have autism.

 

Becky Estepp has an eleven-year-old son with autism. She says applied behavioral therapy was great.

 

"He was worked with one-on-one in our home," says Estepp. "I think it was the cornerstone to get him to be able to attend at a school setting."    

 

The therapy can cost upwards of 70,000 dollars a year. Insurers don't typically pay for it.

 

State regulators say they'll review patient appeals on a case-by-case basis.

 

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

 

 

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