Autism, in the state of Georgia, has been a subject of intense debate. Although the issues that are being discussed are important for everyone with a family, the decision could end up making their health insurance policy more expensive.
Currently, insurance companies cover treatment for children with autism up to the age of 6.
A Proposed Law would Raise that Age to 21
Although the bill has been proposed, it is not yet clear who will pay for the extra coverage. Whether the cost will be taken from public taxes or additional premiums will be added remains to be seen.
If it becomes an out-of-pocket expense, it would end up affecting the premiums of small businesses and would affect everyone, not just state employees.
However, the real question to ask is; would it be fair to expect everyone involved, including small businesses, to pay to treat these youngsters?
Mellissa Solares, mother of Arturo, said her son is hardworking and kind. She recounts the days when her child was 18 months old and couldn’t speak.
Melissa says her son is diagnosed with autism and this is the reason she is fighting to get the bill passed, which would make insurance companies cover treatment for children with autism until they are 21 years old.
“It was overwhelming to accept that there may be no hope, and without treatment, that’s a real possibility,” Solares said.
It is expected that the increase on average would be 32 cents for each member, every month. The Georgia Association of Health Plans says, “Our hearts go out to those impacted by autism. The debate will be about how much this new average will increase premiums, but there is no debate that it will increase premiums for Georgia’s small businesses.”
“If you are getting treatment, that child will be in a special group from age 3-21, and then they will go on to disability, SSI and all sorts of benefits,” Solares said.
Melissa says her son got treatment, the expenses for which were paid out of their pocket. She recounts Arturo being sweet to his sister and says he has dreams of making it big in life.
Arturo joyfully says he wants to become a weatherman when asked what he wants to be when he grows up.
These things would have been impossible, had an early diagnosis not taken place, Melissa recollects.
The state directory in Georgia put the small business figure at upwards of 960,000. The agency has not yet taken an official stance, and is still evaluating long- and short-term impact on businesses, employees, and the customers.