Michael Giangregorio's son Nicholas was diagnosed as severely autistic when he was 18 months old. Now 12, Nicholas requires nearly round-the-clock care - special schooling as well as speech, occupational and physical therapy - that can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year.
It's a formidable expense, but starting in January, Giangregorio's employer, JPMorgan Chase & Co, will chip in.
The company announced in late November that it would add comprehensive autism coverage for expensive intensive therapies such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) to its health plan for 2014. The bank joins about 15 of its Fortune 100 peers, according to the advocacy group Autism Speaks, which expects that number to grow.
An accelerating number of major companies have been extending their health plans to include autism coverage. Companies announcing this year they will add at least partial benefits include General Motors Co, United Technologies Corp, Chrysler Group and American Express Co.
"Adding this type of benefit has been the biggest request we've heard from employees in recent years, and the outpouring of gratitude has been overwhelming," says Bernadette Ulissi Branosky, JPMorgan's head of benefits.
Even with the required co-insurance, Branosky estimates, most employees who qualify will pay less than $4,000 annually, compared with amounts that run as high as 20 times that.