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Autism Speaks Director Discusses Michigan Autism Reform Bill

Posted by Lisa LaGrou July 14, 2012 Health, Special Needs

I’ve received a lot of contact regarding the new Michigan Autism Reform Bill. Thankfully, the Michigan Autism Reform Bill will ensure the opportunities for affordable care and treatment for children and adults in Michigan with autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

I had a chance to submit questions regarding the new Michigan Autism Reform Bill to Tom Riopelle of Autism Speaks to help clarify some points on the upcoming bill.

Oakland County Moms: Individual cases obviously vary greatly but how much on average would you say parents have spent on autism care each year?

Tom Riopelle of Autism Speaks: It can vary from a few thousand to as much as $40,000 per year. That is why we worked so hard, along with families and other agencies across Michigan, to pass the Autism Insurance Legislation passed. I believe it will help families and also improve access.

Oakland County Moms: Can you tell us what changes the Michigan Autism Reform Bill will bring?

Tom Riopelle of Autism Speaks: I have attached an information sheet that answers many of most frequently asked questions and gives detailed information about the legislation. You can share it with all of the Oakland County moms.

Oakland County Moms: When will the Michigan Autism Reform Bill take place? Will the plan be rolled out slowly or will it happen all at once?

Tom Riopelle of Autism Speaks: The legislation allowed 180 days to put the systems in place. The actual start date will be in October. More information will be coming out as we get closer to October and I will make sure you receive the updates.

Oakland County Moms: What services will be available and covered by insurance due to the Michigan Autism Reform Bill?

Tom Riopelle of Autism Speaks: * Diagnosis for an ASD (includes Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, or Pervasive Development Disorder not otherwise specified) Performed by a licensed physician or psychologist. * Behavioral health treatment (Evidence-based counseling and treatment programs, including Applied Behavior Analysis) * Pharmacy care. * Psychiatric care. * Psychological care. * Therapeutic care (evidence-based services provided by a licensed or certified speech therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, or social worker).

Oakland County Moms: How can families take advantage of these newly covered services from the Michigan Autism Reform Bill? Is there a specific process to follow?

Tom Riopelle of Autism Speaks: Please review the attached information sheet to help determine eligibility. Much is dependent on the type of insurance you have.

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