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Insurance Needed for Autism Early Intervention
Tuesday, 03 December 2013

December 3--  Georgia is one of 26 states which doesn't require insurance companies to cover early intervention to treat children with autism.

A Toombs County mother is trying to get that changed.

Anna Bullard has an uphill climb after she attended a hearing by the Georgia Health Mandate Commission and heard it recommend that autism be excluded.

"The General Assembly is not tied to this Mandate Commission.  Regardless of what it recommends, the General Assembly can move forward with the bill," she says.

Bullard knows from personal experience that early treatment is expensive,but worth it.  Her daughter, Ava, was diagnosed when she was two-and-half years old.

"She was a three-year-old not being able to say one word.  She cried all the time.  Now she's a child in fourth grade and no one would know she has autism," she notes.

And that's why Bullard believes it's better long term for the child and society for insurance companies to pay for early intervention.

"Kids make so much progress they need the treatment for a short time.  Long term savings to the state are tremendous, but we can't seem to get that through to our legislators.  They only will stand up for the health care industry.  I'm one mom up there to probably hundreds of lobbyists," she says.

And Anna would like more Moms to experience a day she'll never forget.

"They said we're going to try to help Ava say Momma.  Every week they would work on her saying Momma until one day I walked into the room and she said Momma.  She was four years old and it was the best day of my life," she remembers.

Bullard is hopeful the General Assembly will overrule the Commission and pass legislation in January requiring insurance companies to inlcude autism treatment in their health insurance policies.

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