Every day, millions of Americans living with autism and their families face unique and difficult challenges that many of us will never fully understand nor appreciate. In order to better understand the difficulties that these individuals deal with on a daily basis, the month of April is dedicated to spreading awareness about autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that 1 in 68 children in the United States has been identified with ASD. This latest estimate makes it clear that autism affects the lives of millions of Americans – our friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, autism is a developmental disability, in varying degrees, by persistent difficulties in social communications and restrictive and repetitive behaviors, interests or activities.
Like many other types of health conditions, early screening and intervention at younger ages helps children get the most effective treatments earlier in life. In most cases, children are diagnosed at the age of four; however, the CDC states that signs can be identified as early as two years old.
Catching potential developmental delays early on can make a big difference in the lives of those children. In fact, the CDC and HHS offer easy-to-use resources that parents can use to track their children’s development process from birth to age five.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans must now cover autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months – with no out-of-pocket costs.
In addition, the Affordable Care Act includes many important benefits and protections that address the health care needs of those with autism. Insurers are no longer allowed to exclude anyone with autism or charge more based on this pre-existing condition. In addition, children are now able to remain on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26.
For people with autism and their families, greater access to health care and the new benefits and rights under the Affordable Care Act means more options and greater peace of mind.
In addition to proper health insurance, parents with autistic children should consider taking out a life insurance policy as these policies can provide financial security for one’s family. Keep in mind that life insurance premiums are currently at an industry all-time low, making getting a policy even easier.