Families of children with autism protest Anthem’s cutback on ABA therapies

Indianapolis — Families caring for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) took to the streets of Indianapolis to protest cutbacks on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapies by the largest insurance company in Indiana— Anthem.

The group of protesters pounded the pavements of Indianapolis to deliver a petition asking Anthem to refrain from cutting the ABA therapies of children on the spectrum. The petition holds 10,000 signatures of individuals asking for the change.

One of the advocates on site, Angie Josephson, told:

“Our fight is for ABA therapy. We are delivering a petition to Anthem that has over 10,000 signatures on it.”

“ABA therapy has been life-changing for my daughter, so for them to make that cut at such a critical time in her life is very upsetting.”

Majority of the cases involved families who found themselves in a situation wherein Anthem has decided to cutback on ABA therapies, where they were told by the insurance giant that full-time coverage for the therapy is not medically necessary.

In an interview with 13 Investigates, Lisa Hensley, who was also in the streets of Indianapolis to deliver the petition to the company, told:

“I’m so disgusted. ABA is a lifeline for our family.”

“We have documentation. He has traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy and they’ve denied everything.”

“They didn’t even give us a warning of saying ‘Hey, you’re going to get 15 hours’ versus the 40 or 50 hours we were getting. Everything’s gone now.”

“I want Anthem to realize that this is like taking a lifeline. Seriously, would you take a cancer patient’s chemotherapy away? Because this is his therapy.”

Anthem responded to the protesters through the following statement as told by a spokesman for the company:

“Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield appreciates the efforts of those who collected signatures for the petition we received today. We welcome opportunities to engage in constructive discussions with the various stakeholders to address the role of health insurers in covering care for autism patients. We are committed to providing access to appropriate medical services for Hoosiers with autism so that they can live a healthy, happy, and productive life.

Anthem recognizes that no two autism cases are alike. A therapy that works for one individual may not be effective for another. We consider each member’s unique treatment plan, and regularly reach out to treating physicians and psychologists in a collaborative approach.

Our goal is for individuals to receive access to care at the appropriate time and in the appropriate setting.”

Source: Sandra Chapman: WTHR Atlanta:Families of children with autism deliver petition with 10K signatures to Anthem