Affordable Care Act and Autism - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Affordable Care Act and Autism

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Augusta, GA -

Autism now affects 1 out of 88 kids. It is a whole body developmental disorder. Research shows many factors including genetics, birth difficulties, and even the age of the parents contribute to the disorder.
     Tonight--we look at how the affordable care act will impact insurance coverage for those who have autism.

Aturo Solares is a little boy who loves to draw highways with sidewalk chalk.

He has also been diagnosed with a form of autism....and mom says even though the signs came early, she didn't know what was going on with her son, Melissa, " we sort of noticed at 9 months old that he wasn't playing with the other kids, it was hard to play with him, we could play beside him, but he wasn't interested."

Insurance companies in Georgia are not required to cover treatments for autism.
However other states, including South Carolina mandates that their insurance companies cover autism treatments. The affordable care act goes into affect January 2014, but it doesn't make any concrete changes to insurance coverage. District 122 representative Ben Harbin, " Ava's Law is a bill that I drew up this past year, to try to get the coverage that those families to get the ABA applied behavioral coverage to help their children."

Melissa says if passed, Ava's Law would help so many families and children get the help they need, Melissa, "we put everything else aside, we drained our savings, we took every resource we could possibly find, to start the treatment and that was almost 2 years ago."

Now Arturo can interact with his sister and others, the experts say early treatment seems to be the key to helping autistic children develop properly, Dr. Carolina DiBattisto, Developmental Pediatrician, Children's Hospital of Georgia, " there are a lot of treatment strategies that make a huge difference in children's lives.  the best most scientifically proven therapies are behavioral intervention, so applied behavioral analysis therapy. also speech therapy occupational therapy.

Ben Harbin, "its been proven to help them gain those skills those social skills all of those skills that allow them to lead a more productive life, and it works if you just get to children early."

Representative Harbin did the calculations and says autism insurance reform makes economic sense for the state of Georgia, " its about 32 cents to 33 cents a month that's what we've estimated it would cost. there have been some estimates that say it's a little more.....This is not just a fiscal issue, this is about a quality of life issue. Anyone affected by autism or seen a family affected by autism, they understand the importance of this."

The Solares family definitely knows how beneficial it is to get early treatment for children, Melissa, " I think arturo can be used as a bench mark of what can happen if we can get together, and say, our children need this treatment. the children of south carolina are getting better, the children of florida are getting better, the children of louisiana are getting better, 34 other states those children are getting better, ours aren't."

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