According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States. As a result, the need for better health coverage to families affected by pre-existing conditions, medical conditions present before insurance enrollment, are on the rise. The diagnosis of autism falls under a pre-existing condition.
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Since it has been enacted, the health reform law has impacted the lives of millions of Americans, including the autism community. This law, also referred to as “Obamacare”, requires insurance companies to cover treatment for any pre-existing medical conditions. This also means no insurance plans can reject the coverage for a pre-existing condition, charge more for that condition, or refuse to pay essential health benefits for that condition, according to HealthCare.gov. For the autism community, these benefits include a coverage of behavioral health treatment, habilitative services, prescription drugs, and pediatric services. Obamacare allows children to be enrolled under their parent’s insurance policy up to the age of 26. It offers financial assistance for qualifying families to help pay monthly premiums and the coverage of preventive services without co-payments or deductibles, such as autism screening for children at 18 to 24 months, as reported by Autism Speaks. All in all, the Affordable Care Act has played a strong part in improving the lives of millions of families.
According to Politics.blog.ajc, Representative Tim Price, Donald Trump’s nomination for the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, is set on repealing the Affordable Care Act as part of the President-elect’s campaign promises. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee spent 4 hours questioning Representative Price on the morning of Wednesday, January 18, 2017. The questioning ranged from Price’s budget proposals on Medicare and Medicaid, his past history of stock trades in health care and pharmaceutical companies, to the future of the Affordable Care Act. The New York Times reported that Price stated the Trump Administration could “make certain that individuals had the care and the kind of coverage that they needed for whatever diagnosis would befall them.” He also said the replacement of the Affordable Care Act “would allow for every single person to gain access to the coverage that they want and have nobody fall through the cracks.” Yet, the Representative did not mention specifically how the Trump administration would protect those currently insured by the healthcare act.
Are you or someone you know concerned about how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act will impact the insurance coverage of an individual with autism?