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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Argument for Michigan Mandate

Phil Weaver writes at the Business Review of West Michigan:

Despite the strong medical evidence, fears about rising insurance costs continue to cloud the facts. A recently published article in the Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders estimates that insurance premiums would only be affected by 1 percent — that translates into 55 cents per payer per month. That’s not a lot of money for invaluable gains to the children, their families and society.

What’s even more staggering is what autism costs society. According to the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, we pay $3.2 million to care for an individual with autism over his/her lifetime. The largest direct cost is adult care for individuals unable to work or live independently. The Autism Society estimates those costs can be reduced by two-thirds based on the 2007 Government Accountability Office Report on Autism — that’s a savings of more than $2 million.

Michigan businesses could also benefit from insurance coverage. Parents who have children with autism are leaving their jobs and moving to states with autism coverage because they can’t wait for Michigan to catch up. Others are forced to reduce their hours due to child care issues or need to stay home all together. Coverage would not only retain these employees but increase productivity.