Calling All Minnesotans

Over the last year or two there have been quite a few states across the country that have attempted to pass bills that would require all insurance companies to cover treatments for autism. Compared to many other disorders/diseases, etc., autism can be very, very expensive. If you’re lucky you might get your insurance provider to cover a few basic things, but too many people are on their own to foot the bills for expensive therapies, medications, etc.

We’re fortunate that our insurance provider covers the center where our son gets his therapies. But I know a lot of people out there aren’t so lucky. I also kind of live in fear that my insurance will get switched some day to a provider that won’t cover ABA therapy. What will I do then? Families have enough to worry about. We shouldn’t have to fear that our kids won’t get the necessary care and treatment they deserve as American citizens.

A bill has recently been introduced in the Minnesota House & Senate that would require that insurance companies provide coverage for the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders, medication, and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABA is widely regarded as the most effective therapy we have today to give our kids a fighting chance at succeeding. 

The bills currently being passed through the Minnesota Legislature are HF 359 and SF 312. You can track their progress here. You can even sign up at that site to receive e-mail updates when things happen with those bills. The Autism Votes website can also give you updates on bills throughout the entire country pertaining to autism. 

And if you’re living in Minnesota, there’s quite a bit you can do to try to convince lawmakers to pass these bills. You can go here to send an e-mail to your local legislators. It’s fast and easy. This site provides a form letter you can e-mail and you can add your own story and comments to it to make it more personable. I’m sure these legislators get inundated with many requests about a number of issues, but it certainly can’t hurt if their inboxes are stuffed with people who demand what’s right for our precious loved ones who have autism.

There’s also a hearing on HF 359 on Wednesday, February 4 at 2:45pm in room 200 of the State Office Building in St. Paul. I likely won’t be able to attend as I will be at work, but I’m sure support will be needed.

So there’s my soapbox for the day. As the parent of an autistic child I feel so strongly about this. I know I’ve been blessed that we have been able to get our son’s therapies covered up to this point, but there are so many that need help. And I know any day we could be in a situation where we have nowhere to turn. If we invest in these kids while they’re young, they will only achieve more later in life and it will actually cost us less in the long run. Our lawmakers spend so much time debating stupid crap no one really needs like baseball stadiums and designating state butterflies. Let’s put the partisan politics aside for once and vote for our kids and our future!

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2 Responses to “Calling All Minnesotans”

  1. Kathy C. Says:

    Well said! Let’s hope & pray this legislation gets passed, as it is sorely needed.

  2. Karen Says:

    Thanks for the helpful links! I sent e-mails to my legislators. I’m so thankful that our insurance covers the therapy for Joseph because there’s no way we could afford the over $100,000 it costs per year. I feel for the families who only have access to the 7 to 10 hours of intervention per week that our school district provides, and all other families who only receive limited services. I’ll be sure to pray that this legislation passes!

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