The Michigan Legislature passed a series of autism coverage bills that have been sent to Governor Snyder for his approval.
Lt. Governor Brian Calley was been a central advocate of the bills. He also has a 5-year-old daughter with autism.
The bills would change Michigan insurance code, which would require that certain evidence-based therapies be covered, up to certain limits.
“Today all insurance policies deny coverage for autism. Even those insurance policies that cover mental health therapy generally still exclude or bar treatment for autism. And they do so based on old, outdated, and discredited views that you can’t help kids with autism,” says Calley.
He adds, “There is a growing awareness today across the communities in Michigan and the impact that untreated autism has on society in general. The cost to the tax payer being $3.7 million over the lifetime of a person with autism, when many of them can gain total independence and be taxpayers instead of dependents of the taxpayer.”
As a parent of a child who has autism Calley says, “It’s definitely a life changing event when you have a child with autism.”
Calley explains that his daughter is fortunate because she has access to behavioral therapy, which he says is critical to the development of a child with autism. According to Calley, less than 10% of kids in Michigan have access to this type of therapy.
“You shouldn’t have to be the Lt. Governor’s daughter in order to have access to these things…there are 15,000 other kids we estimate in Michigan today that need the same type of help,” Calley says.
“These kids have potential. These kids have a bright future in front of them and we want to make sure they have the best possible shot of making that happen.”