Treatment for More Than 13,500 Autistic Children In California Hangs in Balance at Tuesday Court Hearing, Says Consumer Watchdog
State Appeals Court to Decide If Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, and CalPERS Patients Will Receive Critical Coverage Already Required For Privately Insured Californians
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A California Appellate Court in Los Angeles will consider a long-running dispute at a Tuesday afternoon hearing about insurance companies' obligations to cover a critical treatment for autistic children. The case, brought by the non-profit Consumer Watchdog, will also determine if families previously forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for autism treatment should be reimbursed by their insurance companies.
The treatment at issue, known as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), has been found to be the most effective treatment for autistic children. Yet, unless the Court of Appeal intervenes, a state agency will allow insurance companies that insure low-income families enrolled in state-sponsored programs (Medi-Cal and Healthy Families) and state employees enrolled in CalPERS to deny coverage for ABA. Read Consumer Watchdog's recent briefing to the Court here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/cwd_v_dmhc_12-28-12.pdf
"We cannot imagine why a state agency would allow insurance companies to deny crucial treatment to some autistic children just because they are poor or are children of public employees, but the Court must step in and provide equal protection," said Consumer Watchdog attorney Jerry Flanagan.
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