When a child reaches the age of 3, families can apply for help to defray the cost of intervention programs through an autism scholarship fund administered by the Ohio Department of Education. Those who qualify can receive as much as $27,000 to help pay for these types of programs, Dr. Cantor said.
Ohio is one of a few states in the United States that has not passed autism intervention insurance reform that would allow health insurance plans to cover some of the costs of such a progam, Ms. Schlotterer said.
“Forty-one other states plus D.C. have done it. Michigan has it. It covers ABA intensive therapy so ProMedica is starting a program at its Bixby Hospital in Michigan. They will be able to bill all of their intervention through insurance,” she said.
In Ohio, families can use health insurance to help pay for speech, language, and occupational therapy depending on their health plan, Ms. Harding said. There is a huge gap in Ohio, however, for children under 3 years old who are not eligible for the Ohio scholarship fund which is a major problem as children are being diagnosed with autism as early as 18 months old.
“It is expensive. I could see where for some families that the cost would be a factor,” Dr. Cantor said.
She said in the case of her son, early intervention at the age of 2 has been crucial to his rapid improvement and development.
“If we would have waited until kindergarten or until someone saw an issue within the school district, we would have missed an opportunity and I know that early intervention is the key. I know that cost makes it very scary for parents because it’s like what if he’s not? What if it’s a wrong diagnosis, you know? I think it’s just worth it,” she said.