Medicaid expansion to benefit austism coverage

March 13, 2013

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

Gov. John Kasich recently mandated insurance companies to cover autism in their health care policies. Other individuals with developmental disabilities will benefit as well.

Marla Root, an Autism Society of Ohio board member, said expansion of the state’s Medicaid program through the Affordable Care Act will assist families who currently have no access to medical care and behavioral health services.

Michael Bell, the president of the Scioto County Autism Project, said he is delighted about the Governor’s new bill.

“I am very Happy with this bill. I know it will help out a lot of families in our area,” Bell said.

Bell said he invested much of his time and effort to better educate himself about the details of the bill when it was first introduced.

“When this bill was introduced, I researched it. I had seen that it also included other developmental disabilities and my first thought was, ‘This is fantastic,’” Bell said.

Bell said the bill will provide relief for families with autistic children that have struggled in obtaining health care coverage.

“I know families that have been denied health care for their child with autism because the insurance companies considered it a previous illness or injury, or they were turned down for health care all together due to having a child on the autism spectrum,” Bell said.

Bell said having an autistic child does not guarantee health care in anyway.

“Many people probably think that a child with autism can just get on SSI and receive a Medical Card, It doesn’t work like that. And I know personally of being turned down for a medical card for my son years ago because I made $7 over the limit for a family of four,” Bell said.

Bell said he would especially like to thank the Ohio State House of Representative Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) for her involvement in the bill.

“The Autism Project of Southern Ohio is very happy, and would also like to thank Kasich and the lawmakers that were involved in expediting this bill,” Bell said.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@civitasmedia.com