Push for Health Insurance Coverage of Autism Services


Target: Obama Administration

Goal: Require insurance companies to provide coverage of autism services under the health care reform

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy is an essential part of treating autism. It involves behavioral modification and teaching methods used to improve the quality of life of individuals with autism, and is considered a behavioral/mental health treatment. The Obama administration’s health care reform is underway, and despite it’s importance, ABA Therapy has been omitted from the new insurance requirements.

Unfortunately, many insurance companies have chosen not to cover this treatment. ABA Therapy is very expensive if paid for out of pocket, so sadly, many families are not able to receive these vital services. Under the new federal law, several essential health benefits will be required to be covered by insurance companies next year, with “mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment” being one of these.

ABA Therapy is the only treatment that has been proven, based on scientific evidence, to be effective at improving symptoms of autism. With ABA therapy, individuals who would otherwise be non-verbal and generally unresponsive to social stimuli can learn to speak, read, write, and interact appropriately with others. With years of behavioral research supporting ABA, it is a great mystery as to why it was rejected.

Omitting ABA Therapy from new health insurance requirements is clearly a mistake, as millions of families are in dire need of autism services. Please petition the Obama Administration urging them to revise their requirements to include ABA therapy.


Dear Obama administration,

The health care reform beginning in 2014 will require health insurance companies to cover essential health care benefits.  Unfortunately, one essential treatment was left out.

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA Therapy, is the only scientifically-proven effective treatment for autism.  It involves behavior modification and individualized instruction plans to improve cognitive abilities, physical and mental health, and overall quality of life.  The results can be astonishing.  Some may go from completely helpless and unable to communicate to functioning normally in society. Whether or not insurance companies will cover this treatment has been left for the states to decide.  This is not enough, as the Autism Speaks advocacy organization estimates that at least 24 states will go without this required benefit.  As of today, many insurance companies do not cover ABA therapy.  ABA therapy is very costly, leaving many families unable to afford this treatment.

There are years of research to support the effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis.  Without this treatment, many individuals and their families can be completely crippled by autism.  I ask that you reconsider your position on ABA therapy in the revised health care plan to allow all families access to this essential service.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Drriad via Wikimedia Commons

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