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Friday, January 4, 2013

OPM, ABA, and Maryland

Previous posts have discussed the decision by the federal Office of Personnel Management to allow (but not require) coverage of ABA under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.

The Baltimore Sun reports:
Autistic children of federal workers in 22 states begin receiving insurance coverage this month for a key behavioral treatment, under a decision by the Office of Personnel Management.

Maryland, home to the third-largest population of federal workers in the nation, is not one of them.

"These families desperately need the best coverage for their kids," said Stuart Spielman, senior policy adviser and counsel for Autism Speaks. He said the advocacy group would petition the OPM to expand its coverage as quickly as possible.
But Jacque Simon, policy director at the American Federation of Government Employees, said the mix of therapies and medication is not a substitute for applied behavior analysis. Simon said the union has fought for decades for coverage. 
"It's long been recognized as the most effective treatment," she said. "It's been absolutely horrible on the part of OPM to delay coverage for this long. It's really a half-measure, but it's better than nothing."