When Tara Hood and a group of dedicated parents decided to advocate for the Oklahoma Legislature to pass a bill mandating health insurance coverage of autism treatment, she thought it would take a few years.
“We didn’t know what we were doing,” Hood said. “None of us thought it was going to pass in one year. We were pleasantly surprised.”
Hood and other autism advocates spoke of their 2016 legislative victory Monday during Autism Awareness Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol. They also discussed further efforts they said are needed to improve the lives of the thousands of Oklahoma children living on the autism spectrum.
[D]espite the mandate taking effect Nov. 1 for state-based insurance plans in Oklahoma, families with autistic children have plenty of room to fall through the cracks.
For instance, SoonerCare (Oklahoma’s Medicaid program) does not offer coverage for things like applied behavior analysis (ABA), said Judith Ursitti, director of state government affairs for the national advocacy organization Autism Speaks.
“There are still some gaps,” Ursitti said of Oklahoma’s law. “It’s a federal mandate (for Medicaid programs), but Oklahoma is not in compliance.”