Favors, Facts, and Fishnets: Shaping Autism Law and Policy (Lorri Unumb)

A presentation by Lorri Unumb delivered at the 2016 Michigan Autism Conference. The open-access video below does not contain embedded questions or interactions like the CEU and coursepack versions.

Abstract
In 2004, the New York Times wrote that “no disability claims more parental time and energy than autism.” Families dealing with autism face many hardships, not the least of which is financial hardship. One reason for the financial hardship is the failure of the health insurance industry to cover treatments for, and sometimes even diagnosis of, autism. As recently as the turn of the millennium, it was widely accepted that health insurance did not cover even the standard treatments for autism. Since 2007, there has been a fast-moving national movement toward autism insurance reform. More than 40 states have now enacted legislation requiring insurers to cover autism interventions, including ABA. In this session, we examine the language of the autism insurance laws, including a comparison of their key terms and features. You will learn about the different types of public and private health insurance plans, with a particular emphasis on recent activity in Medicaid policies. The potential pitfalls that consumers may face when attempting to utilize benefits are discussed. Finally, effective strategies for influencing autism-related policy decisions are presented.
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