The American Psychiatric Association is considering changing
the definition of autism spectrum disorder. For most people, this change will probably go
all but unnoticed, but for the families of people diagnosed with autism, it’s a source of
major concern. They may find themselves suddenly bereft of insurance coverage if their
loved ones no longer qualify under the new definition of “autistic.”
State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) has confronted this problem by introducing
legislation in the Illinois General Assembly that “grandfathers” people whose insurance
already covers them for autism.
Harmon has been negotiating with stakeholders for weeks to arrive at an acceptable
agreement. His plan, Senate Bill 679, passed the Illinois Senate unanimously.
“Insurance coverage for a large percentage of children diagnosed with autism could be
jeopardized if the proposed changes to the diagnostic criteria are implemented, which is
causing many families a great deal of distress,” said Laura Cellini, a parent advocate
who worked with Senator Harmon on the legislation. “Parents are very grateful for
Senator Harmon’s efforts to ensure their children will not lose insurance coverage for the
medically necessary treatments that are helping their children.”
Harmon’s plan now moves to the Illinois House for further consideration.
Here is a link that explains the potential changes http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=autism-new-criteria