New emergency rules won’t let insurers illegally limit therapy visits.(shannonrosa/flickr)
California regulators have issued emergency regulations aimed at keeping insurance companies from delaying or denying coverage for autism treatment.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced the approval of emergency rules this week, which take effect immediately.
“Autistic children and their families should now, without delay, receive the transformative treatment that will enable them to succeed in school, their families, and communities,” Jones wrote in a statement.
Insurers have already been required to comply with medically necessary treatment by the state’s Mental Health Parity Law and SB 946, which reinforced the mandate for private insurers to provide behavioral treatment for autism.
However Karen Fessel, executive director of the Northern California-based Autism Health Insurance Project, says these emergency regulations were needed.
“This is an example how even with the right laws in place you still need vigilant regulators who will help interpret the law in ways that they were intended,” says Fessel “Because the health plans often twist things around so much people don’t get the care they need even with the laws.” Continue reading
Hispanic children have had a lower rate of autism than other children — although their cases tend to be more severe. Researchers had wondered — is there something protective about being Hispanic? Or is this a case of lack of access and lack of understanding of warning signs?
I think you can guess the answer. But proving it is generally better than guessing.
In one of the largest studies so far to compare development in Hispanic children and non-Hispanic children, researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute wrote that Hispanic children “displayed more similarities than differences compared to non-Hispanics.” In the case of autism, they found that rates of autism were actually roughly the same between Hispanic and non-Hispanic children.
The study’s lead author, Virginia Chaidez, Ph.D. said the research filled in a piece of “large puzzle” and added “autism is a spectrum and it’s very similar across the board. So we’re pretty confident in promoting outreach and trying to encourage the Hispanic community to learn the signs very early in life.” Continue reading
By Kamal Menghrajani
It was news that startled many. A new study from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention suggests that the prevalence of the disorder is much higher than previously thought. Up to 1 in 88 children is expected to develop autism or a related disorder, which is a 23 percent jump from the rate the CDC found just 2 years ago. Perhaps one million children and teens across the country are affected.
This morning on KQED’s Forum, autism experts discussed the significance of the new numbers and what progress is being made in the field of autism research.
The first question on everybody’s mind was whether the new number represents a true rise in the rate of autism – or is simply a reflection of the fact that more doctors are recognizing it.
“We’re not sure what the increase is due to. We do know that better identification, better diagnosis, and availability of services is contributing,” said Coleen Boyle, Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the CDC. Continue reading
Eric and Cindy Everson on vacation with their sons. (Photo: Everson Family)
The emotions of new parents can run the gamut. They’re in uncharted water. Even people who have spent a great deal of time around children will likely tell you that having their own is a new experience. For Eric and Cindy Everson, it was no different. They had been around children, but when they had their son, Shane, the world changed. “We were new parents,” Eric says, “we didn’t know what to expect.”
Still, they did recognize when Shane started missing milestones. He was late to crawl. Then he was late walking and they had him evaluated. When Shane started walking shortly after the evaluation, Eric and Cindy hoped all was well. But they were seeing other issues as well. Shane was not not babbling or making any noises, a key marker for learning language. He was not responding when his parents called his name. Finally the formal diagnosis came. Shane had autism, a neurodevelopment disorder. The communication problems their son had, repetitive behavior they had seen, problems with social interaction, these are all hallmarks of autism. Continue reading