Michigan companies offer benefits to workers with children on autism spectrum

Flint, Mich. — Over 60 companies have started offering benefits for their workers who have children on the autism spectrum in the state of Michigan. The move by the companies follows a legislation passed in the state two years ago, where $26 million in funds were approved for the purpose of reimbursing self-insured companies if they voluntary add autism coverage to their employees’ benefits.

According to the Autism Alliance of Michigan, among the major companies who have started offering the benefit are Art Van Furniture, Chrysler Group LLC (Michigan), Consumers Energy Co., Delphi Automotive, DTE Energy Co., Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Western Michigan University.

Ann Arbor-based Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation said in a new report that although autism coverage has already been expanded in the state, Michigan still has very few trained behavior analysts who could provide treatment. According to the center’s director, Marianne Udow-Philips,

“We don’t have enough therapists yet, and the wait list for appointments is far too long. There have been 1,300 children served, but 16,000 in the state.”

“The problem right now is accessibility (to therapists) for families. If you can find a therapist, the wait time is extremely long.”

Autism Alliance chairman Dave Meador added:

“We also probably need to run job ads in other states and encourage Michigan’s professionals that left the state to come home now that there are jobs.”

The original article by Jay Greene on the Crain’s Detroit Business website can be read here

Contributed by Althea Estrella Violeta