Friday, October 03, 2008
Clinic Notes: Mental Health Parity and ABA for Autism
Well today the Mental Health Parity bill passed in the House after decades of close votes. Oddly, the Mental Health Parity bill passed because it was linked to the 700 Billion Wall Street Bailout bill. The President says he will sign the bill. Mental Helath parity requires insurance companies to not discriminate in coverage for mental illness and physical illness. Okay this sounds great, but I'm wondering how autism will fare. Often when we seek pre authorization from insurance companies to cover services for a child diagnosed with autism we are told that we should submit to the insurance companies BHO (Behavioral Health Organization.) Some states have passed an autism equity act stating that autism is a neurological disorder and that if the insurance company's policy cover other neurological disorders it must pay for treatment for autism. (Some insurance companies will not pay for ABA because it is considered experimental despite the fact that the Surgeon General and NIMH recommend it as the treatment of choice.) So what, if anything, does the Mental Health Parity Bill do to ABA and autism coverage? Will BHO's disappear? Stay tuned.