Washington State – The families of children with autism have won a class action suit against Regence BlueShield, a state health insurance company that had been refusing to cover the cost of an expensive behavioural therapy for those under their plan.
Parents had brought the company to court following its refusal to pay for Applied Behavavioural Analysis (ABA) treatment for their children. ABA is an intensive, one-on-one form of therapy that improves a child’s social, academic and verbal skills by breaking up simple tasks into small steps and providing rewards for them once they are successfully completed.
The treatment has been used in dozens of countries throughout the world and is empirically proven to be effective in treating the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However parents argue that while it is effective, it’s simply too expensive for them to pay for out of pocket with the therapy costing upwards of over $50 000 per year.
Ultimately, as a result of the ruling, Regence BlueShield will become the third healthcare insurance company in Washington to settle on the issue in court. The case has also prompted the Oregon Insurance Division to make adjustments to contracts which will more clearly outline the responsibilities of healthcare insurance companies ensuring that coverage is provided for autism-related therapies in the future.