Senate moves to include autism disorders in health care coverage

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LANSING, Mich.—Autism spectrum disorders would be covered by health insurance plans in Michigan under two bills approved by the state Senate today, said Sen. Mike Green, who was a primary sponsor.

“Autism affects more and more children every day — nearly 15,000 in Michigan alone — yet most don’t get any treatment because of a lack of insurance coverage,” said Green, R-Mayville.  “It is more commonly diagnosed in children than diabetes, cancer, and AIDS combined, all of which currently are covered under state law.

“Making sure health insurance plans provide coverage for autism disorders is a common sense way to ensure those diagnosed have access to the therapies and treatments that will greatly improve their quality of life and help them reach their full potential.”

According to research, the early diagnosis and treatment of autistic disorders results in 50 percent of patients recovering typical functions, helping them to have full lives. Other states have demonstrated that early intervention also reduces the need for K-12 special education services, saving taxpayers an estimated $200,000 per child. It is estimated that without medical treatment, the average societal cost of caring for one person with autism is $3.7 million.

“With the passage of this legislation, Michigan will join 29 other states that have enacted autism coverage,” Green said. “It is time that Michigan children have access to these life-changing programs.”

Senate Bills 414 and 415 received overwhelming bipartisan support, and now go to the state House for consideration.

For more information or to contact Green, please visit www.statesentatormikegreen.com.

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