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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Insurance Catch-22 in Illinois

Yuji Fukunaga writes at The Highland Park Patch:

In Illinois, a law was enacted about three years ago that requires health insurance companies to provide coverage for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders, and specifically includes coverage for speech therapy.

When the law was passed, it gave hope to many families that insurance would cover more of the therapy that so many of our kids need. But it has not worked out that way for us.

And that is because my son’s insurance plan is exempt from this state law.

My wife and I do not have access to a group insurance plan. So we are on our own when it comes to health insurance. And with our son’s autism diagnosis, no insurance company would accept coverage for him.

That meant that we had to take coverage through the Illinois Comprehensive Insurance Plan (ICHIP), a program partially funded by the state that is intended for people whose pre-existing conditions prevent them from getting any other insurance. ICHIP is not welfare or a charity; I’d wager that the premiums charged for Kai are much higher than what most of you pay for your kids’ insurance.

Yet those covered under ICHIP are not protected by the Illinois Autism Insurance Law.

Does that make sense? Kai can’t get insurance through normal channels because of his autism. But because of that, he doesn’t qualify for protection under a law designed to help those with autism. Sounds like the worst kind of Catch-22 to me.