Insurance and Autistic Children: Update to ARICA Is Changing the Picture for Many Families
April 1, 2012
Having a child with Autism creates many challenges, not the least of which is the potential financial impact on your family. Until recently, many families were burdened with a mountain of bills when attempting to have their child diagnosed and treated for disorders within the Autism spectrum, but thanks to a new Massachusetts Law, that is changing.
In August of 2010 ARICA (An Act Relative to Insurance Coverage for Autism) was signed into law by Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick and became effective as of January 1, 2011. This law requires health insurance companies in Massachusetts to provide coverage with respect to the diagnosis and treatment of Autism spectrum disorders, regardless of the age of the individual afflicted by the disorder.
Despite what many believe, or at least questioned, ARICA has no impact on the special educational services provided by school districts, as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA,) and Massachusetts Law.
To clarify, ARICA requires that health insurers provide payment for supplemental services, in addition to services provided by school districts, pursuant to a student’s individualized education plan (IEP.) Services covered by ARICA include, but are not limited to, medication, counseling, psychiatric care, psychological care, counseling, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. …
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