Silas Walker, Deseret News
REPORT – The Capitol in Salt Lake City is photographed on Friday, January 25, 2019.
SALT LAKE CITY – Lindsay Waldrop knows the location of each Taco Bell and Taco Time on all the routes that she commonly follows with her 17-year-old autistic son.
She told the members of Utah Senate Business and Labor Committee On Wednesday, his son became violent when he did not ask to eat on demand, even in the middle of the night. But because of the applied analysis of ongoing behavior, a type of therapy to help people with autism spectrum disorders, Waldrop now derives it by grumbling a little bit about his son when the tacos are not provided.
"It's a job that changes our lives," said Waldrop, adding that the insurance had never covered his son's treatment.
SB95, proposed by Senator Curt Bramble, R-Provo, on Wednesday, aims to require that some health insurance plans in Utah cover behavioral treatments for people with autism spectrum disorders, regardless of their age and number hours of treatment need.
"If we do not give them the skills and treatment that are applicable to them, they grow up and simply do not have the tools to become an adult adult," said Senate Minority Leader Karen Mayne of D -West Valley City. She said that treatment not only helps people with autism, but also their families and society.
The bill would remove the caps appearing in the current law stipulating that insurance plans must cover applied behavior analysis therapies for patients aged 2 to 10 years, as well as the number of people in the family. hours of benefit plans related to treatment, which is currently 600 hours.
Kelly Atkinson, executive director of the Utah Health Insurance Association, said the law applies to only 24 percent of Utah's insured, with the majority of the state's residents being insured by vast unregulated plans governed by the federal government. He added that the cost of mandatory coverage would be passed on to consumers.
Private insurers, such as SelectHealth of Intermountain Healthcare and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, have already chosen to cover the service "because that's the right thing to do," Bramble said.
However, Todd Kaiser, Insurance Commissioner of Utah, told the committee that if SB95 was passed, a provision of the Affordable Care Act would require the state to repay about $ 800,000 to insurance companies for having imposed a specific coverage.
"If this is done after 2012, the state must pay," said Kaiser, adding that the bill would have a substantial budget that should also be incorporated into the state budget.
The age limits set by the regulations in place have been problematic for families in Utah, particularly in financial terms. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 44 children in Utah falls somewhere in the spectrum of autism disorders, one of the most prevalent prevalence rates. the highest in the country.
"We are not experts in medicine or autism, or even our own son," said Ed Lamb, whose 8-year-old son is autistic. "We made sacrifices to keep him on ABA treatment."
Cheryl Brayton may be someone who knows better than anyone the difference that proper treatment can have for autism spectrum disorders. His 20-year-old son, David Brayton, spent the rest of his life on the edge of emerging therapies, forced to stay in a public school with limited services.
"The public school was a nightmare for him," Cheryl Brayton told lawmakers. "Since we are at the Utah Autism Academy, using the ABA method, it has made giant strides."
David Brayton learned to use the restroom alone, to do grocery shopping, to ask for help finding items and to prepare his own meal, his mother explained.
"If ABA stopped for him, he would decline quickly," she said.
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"I'm really tired of people who say kids (with autism) can not progress beyond the age of 8," Waldrop said. His son is following an ABA treatment since the age of 13 and the family has been fighting for it, "even though it's just to help families get older. the future.Other families fought for what we have now. "
"It is very important that these children have access to these services," she said.
The committee unanimously approved Bramble's bill on Wednesday and is now moving to the Senate as a whole.