AT WDAZ-TV, Andrew Haffner reports that autism parents in North Dakota are doubting insurance company promises to cover ABA.
Lawmakers rejected House Bill 1434 after debating the necessity of using legislation to compel insurers to provide coverage for applied behavioral analysis, or ABA, a specific behavioral treatment for autism disorders not currently included in most insurance plans offered in the state.
Central to some of the argument against the bill was the testimony of Blue Cross Blue Shield North Dakota, the largest-single medical insurance provider in the state, that it would provide coverage for ABA without a mandate beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
Though a litany of other treatments are available through the state's insurers, many parents and autism advocacy groups stand by ABA as a critical treatment and now, as the dust clears, some are still not confident the therapy will be provided without a mandate from the state.
"Legislators are relying on the hope that BCBS will start covering these treatments for children with autism, and it's not a promise that we wanted to rely on," Janice Kern, a mother of an autistic son and a leader of the North Dakota organization Talk About Curing Autism, or TACA. "We are worried that, without a mandate, children will continue to wait and not be able to access treatment."