The Autism Society of Nebraska has a unique and exciting opportunity. It’s only a few hours before the launch of Omaha Gives! - a 24 hour charitable challenge organized by the Omaha Community Foundation. The online giving holiday will take place May 21st from midnight to midnight. We are participating and competing for matching funds. The more money we raise, the larger percentage of the over $600,000 match pool we will receive and all money raised by the Autism Society of Nebraska during this event will remain in Omaha to help the people of Omaha. Tomorrow, please consider going to Omaha Gives and making a donation to the Autism Society of Nebraska.
How can you help the Autism Society of Nebraska during Omaha Gives!?
Spread the word! Tell your friends that you will be giving to the Autism Society of Nebraska and encourage them to give. You don’t need to be from (or living in) Omaha to give, everyone can participate.
Cheer on our progress! On May 21st, watch the leader board on Omahagives24.org and help the Autism Society of Nebraska to the top.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has just released new Autism prevalence rates. Here’s a quick look at the data:
*1 in 68 children
*1 in 42 males
*Boys diagnosed at a rate nearly 5x that of girls
*Most children not diagnosed until after age 4
*An estimated 1.2 million people under age 21
(Data for this study is based on health provider and educational records.)
LB505 will come out of committee on Tuesday, April 1. I ask for your vote in support of this critical legislation when it comes to the floor.
The autism community and all three major insurers in Nebraska have agreed to the language of this bill. We understand the scope and limitations of LB 505 and we strongly support its passage.
We believe this legislation will affect almost 900 children with autism. Without your support of LB 505, insurance companies will continue to deny coverage for medically necessary autism treatments for these 900 children. Without your support of LB 505, many of these children will never speak. They will never have a meaningful relationship. They will never go to college or get a job. Without your support of LB 505 most of these children will require intensive special education and be dependent on a lifetime of state-funded adult disability support services.
Some legislators have noted that future changes to the ACA may include the addition of autism treatments. This may come and we will continue to lobby our federal legislators. But today we are asking you, the members of the Nebraska Legislature, to help those children who are within your power to help by passing LB 505.
If you’re concerned about the cost of enacting LB505, don’t. Thirty-four other states have enacted laws similar to LB 505. Actual claims data from states whom were among the first to enact such legislation show the average cost of coverage is 31 cents per member per month.
The cost of not providing appropriate treatment to individuals with autism has been estimated to be $3.2 million per child over their lifespan (Ganz, 2007). Much of this expense is associated with intensive special education, adult disability services and decreased productivity.
Failure to enact LB 505 is the high cost option.
Some legislators have expressed reservations about supporting LB 505 because it is a mandate and they are opposed to mandates. . Every law the legislature enacts is a mandate that our elected officials deem appropriate for the protection and betterment of Nebraska’s citizens.
LB 505 is a mandate that will afford access to medically necessary treatment for children with autism while saving the state millions of dollars per child in special education and adult disability supports. LB 505 is a win-win proposition for Nebraska.
The prevalence of autism as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now 1 in every 88 children. This represents a 1,000 fold increase in the past forty years. Autism is an epidemic and a public health crisis. Please pass LB 505.
Requires certain health insurance plans sold in Nebraska to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders in children and youth less than age 21. Covered services included behavioral health treatment including applied behavior analysis (ABA) when provided or supervised by a board certified behavior analyst or licensed psychologist. Caps coverage for ABA treatment at $40,000 each year annually to age 21.
This bill won’t cover all children in Nebraska. Should we wait for a bill that will cover everyone?
We are aware that this legislation does not cover every child in Nebraska. We estimate this bill will reach 1000 additional children. LB 505 as amended is a compromise with insurers and limits types of policies it would affect, satisfying concerns regarding ACA. It is a compromise we are willing to make to ensure at least some families get coverage rather than know their son or daughter will not get treatment. The amendments have been agreed to by all three health insurers in Nebraska. Every child is worth helping. This is a first step. Are we saying if we can’t help everyone than we shouldn’t help anyone? No child is dispensable. We do not know when federal legislation may be passed. Every minute counts for our kids. No child can afford to wait.
Will this bill bring an additional cost to the state?
Language in LB505 clarifies that the proposed benefits will only apply to plans offered outside the Nebraska Exchange therefore, there will be no cost to the State of Nebraska if Health and Human Services under the Affordable Care Act determines that the benefit exceed the essential health benefits.
Essentially there is language that covers possible interpretations that are yet to come out of the Affordable Care Act. This benefit will not result in the State of Nebraska paying anything to cover this benefit – excluding any requirement to cover state employees as part of their health insurance plan.
Will this bill cause an increase in my insurance premiums?
Small employers with group plans may receive a waiver from the Nebraska Department of Insurance if the required coverage results in a 2.5% increase or more in policy cost in one year.
If this benefit results in 2.5% increase in premiums, small businesses can opt out. Missouri has a similar provision in their law and no small business has applied for the waiver since their law went into effect.
Actual claims data from States that were among the first to enact autism insurance reform laws demonstrate the average cost of this benefit to the insurance company to be 31 cents per member per month.
This issue has been studied in other states with similar legislations the cost increase is less than 1% of current health care policy premiums. Anyone who tells you this mandate will result in an increase in premiums, demand to see the data that proves that. There is none! All the data from the 36 other states that have passed autism insurance legislation demonstrates that it has not resulted in any significant increase in premiums.
This legislation will also generate savings to public school districts ($208,500 over the educational life span) and other publicly funded organizations that try to provide services today.
Further, the long-term costs savings of providing early intervention services have been estimated to be $2.5M per person over their lifetime by enabling people with autism to become contributing members of society rather than remaining dependent upon public assistance for the rest of their lives. It will reduce the financial burden onsociety.
Are Autism therapies proven to be effective?
There are evidence based therapies, including ABA, that are proven and effective. This has been documented through multiple scientific studies and ABA has been endorsed as aneffective method for autism treatment by the US Surgeon General, the AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics and The National Institute of Mental Health.
Is Autism an educational issue and be solved by the schools?
Autism is a recognized developmental disability and medical condition by the American Medical Association (AMA). Autism is a medical diagnosis, not an educational issue. It isdiagnosed by a doctor, not a principal. Both diagnosis and treatment need to be performed by trained medical professionals. The school systems don’t have, and shouldn’t be expected to have, the expertise to treat this medical condition. This situation results in higher costs in the public schools and ineffective treatments being delivered to people with autism.
This ‘mandate’ is a slippery slope and will open the door to a lot of other mandates
This is an argument that the insurance companies use all the time and it just doesn’t make sense. This issue and all others should be evaluated on their own merits and that is what is happening with this bill and will happen with any future bills put before the legislature.