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Autism – Does Health Insurance Cover Necessary Therapies?

autismIn our continued effort to support Autism Awareness month, GoHealth aims to keep you informed of the important health insurance facts people with autistic loved ones need to be aware of.

Available Treatments for Children with Autism

Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will require a combination of the following:

    Physical Therapy

    This helps children develop age-appropriate motor skills, helps develop muscle tone and benefits breathing control and coordination. Things like throwing, catching and riding a bike can be made much easier through this type of therapy.

    Occupational Therapy

    An occupational therapist studies human growth and development. Working with parents, specific developmental goals are set for the child based on his or her personal situation. Occupational therapy can focus on issues such as attention span, transition to new activities, need for personal space, and interaction with others.

    Speech Therapy

    Autism often can affect speech and language development. Signs vary, but often include not talking at all, uttering odd word-like sounds, and humming or talking in a musical manner. Speech therapists are skilled at working with children to enhance their communication skills and enhance their quality of life in general.

It’s encouraging that these proven treatments exist, but will they be covered by your health care provider? Make sure that the answer to that question is a definitive “yes.” Keep the following in mind:

  • A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) is probably your best bet if you have a child with autism. The flexibility a PPO provides allows you to see specialists without a referral and to easily get second opinions.
  • Every child’s needs are unique. Depending on the situation, your child may need different types of therapies not listed above (i.e. psychological or behavioral therapy). If you are unsure as to whether or not your plan covers the needs of your child, ask!
  • Rules and regulations regarding health insurance and autism treatment vary widely by state. Educate yourself on your state’s situation and leverage any autism-specific medical assistance that state may offer.

Obviously, this only scratches the surface when it comes to the intricacies of autism and the importance of insurance. For more information and links to further advice, visit AutismSpeaks.org.

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