Join CafeMom Today! Autism Spectrum Disorder: Treatments: US Government Bailout Plan = More Coverage for Autsim Treatments

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Monday, October 13, 2008

US Government Bailout Plan = More Coverage for Autsim Treatments

While it doesn't seem to be in the news much, it sounds like one of the "sweeteners" added to the recent $700 Billion dollar bailout plan. I am sure that most lawmakers didn't even read this bill before it passed. It's a shame that this coverage had to be slipped in through the back door to get passed. Will this lead to more coverage for autism treatments? I will believe it when I see it.

  • In addition to providing $700 billion to bail out Wall Street, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 contains the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (the "Act"), which, for the first time, requires equal coverage of mental and physical illnesses in an employer's group health plan. The Act has been over a decade in the making and marks a significant shift in the coverage requirements for group health plans that offer coverage for mental health or substance use disorders. *
  • Employers that provide coverage for mental health and substance use disorder benefits will no longer be able to provide less coverage for these benefits than they do for the treatment of medical and surgical benefits. The Act will make it easier for plan participants to obtain treatment for a wide range of conditions, including depression, autism, schizophrenia, eating disorders and alcohol and drug abuse. Only small employers and employers with group health plans that satisfy the cost exception shall be excluded from the Act's coverage. Therefore, employers may have to adjust their benefits to comply with the Act. Fortunately, employers will have more than 12 months to fully comply with the sweeping changes required by the Act. *

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