Families With Children On Autism Spectrum Look For Insurance Reform


UPDATED: Wednesday October 24, 2012 8:52 AM

Some state legislatures are making a renewed push for insurance reform to help families with children on the Autism Spectrum.

Three of the four children in the Kneice household in Westerville are on the Autism Spectrum.

Jennifer Kneice said that she has cried over the amount of money her family has paid for special therapy for her children.

“At first with Jonathan, our 11-year-old, we paid out of pocket. We went into a lot of debt,” Kneice said.

Eventually, the family found a program to help cover the costs for Jonathan and his brother Josh.

Their little sister, Jessica, still is on a wait list for assisted therapy.

Jessica Kneice said that her family is not going to be able to afford the care. That is one reason she advocates for insurance reform in Ohio. The reform would mean coverage for therapies for families like hers.

“There’s Ohio sitting in the middle of all of these states that have passed it,” said Republican State Rept. Cheryl Grossman of Grove City. “It’s the lone holdout in the Midwest.”

Grossman said that she is pushing House Bill 598, which calls for Autism Spectrum disorder coverage.

“It pulls at my heartstrings,” Grossman said. “I’m a mother before anything else.”

Grossman said that if the bill becomes law, it would support parents in the expensive endeavor of trying to give their children the best possible chance at adult success.

Roger Geiger with the National Federation of Independent Business said that the mandate would put an unfair burden on small employers.

H.B. 598 would exempt the state from having to cover its employees, something small business representatives say is unfair.

Backers contend that it would cost 31 cents per member per month and said that the long-term benefits make sense.

The earliest the bill could be approved would be later this year.

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