Autism awareness day: Reminder that insurance coverage is spotty

We have spent recent posts on this blog discussing various conditions that might meet eligibility requirements for receiving Social Security disability benefits. One of these is autism, which can have a devastating financial impact for people who are dealing with the condition.

As it happens, today is International Autism Awareness Day. While it is fair to say that most people in Oregon are aware of autism, dealing with it is another story. Today in the U.S., 32 states cover autism via health insurance plans that they regulate. However, Oregon is not one of them. It does, however, have an endorsed bill on the subject. Additionally, companies that have their own insurance might cover autism even if it isn’t mandated by law.

For families that don’t have this kind of coverage, the effect can be staggering. One family with an 11-year-old autistic son has spent thousands of dollars and filed for bankruptcy twice because their insurance doesn’t pay for treatment or diagnosis of autism. For this family, it includes weekly therapy sessions and other treatment — not to mention special food and even clothing the boy needs to feel comfortable.

It has had a real impact on the parents keeping stable jobs. His mother says many employers haven’t understood when she has had to leave work to attend to an emergency with her son and has lost jobs as a result. Parents who deal with these kinds of situations might benefit from speaking with a Social Security disability attorney about their options.

Source: ABC News, “Autism Bankrupts Families, Emotionally and Financially,” Susan Donaldson James, April 2, 2013

Our firm handles cases regarding a wide range of qualifying mental and physical disorders. For more information, please visit our Portland Social Security benefits page.

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