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Senator introduces autism insurance bill
$60,000 a year is the average cost of care a family spends on a child with autism. One Nebraska Senator is trying to change that. He's proposing a bill that would require insurance plans to cover autism screening and therapy.
One area mother raising an autistic son. Traye is a bright, energetic three year old. If you met him today you wouldn't know it, but just 6 months ago he couldn't speak a word.
Traye Beck was diagnosed with Classic Autism a year ago.
"He wasn't speaking, he wasn't waving bye bye, and he didn't want any interaction with other kids. Just wanted to play by himself," said mother Andrea Beck.
What may seem simple to the average person is foreign to those with autism. The disorder affects everyone a little bit differently, but for Traye it makes everyday busy.
"Busy, very busy."
From cars, to puzzles to reading and games...
"You have to keep him entertained. Try to keep him on a schedule as much as you can, because the variance from a schedule can throw him off into a tantrum or a meltdown," Beck said.
The right care and treatment can open up a new opportunity. But, that treatment is almost impossible to get for most families in Nebraska.
"He could get speech therapy when it was a speech delay, but after we got his autism diagnosis, insurance wouldn't cover anything related to that," said Beck.
Senator Colby Coash of Lincoln is trying to change that. LB 505 would require insurance plans to cover up to $70,000 a year in treatment.
Kristin Larson with Arc of Buffalo County and the mother of a 19 year old with Autism says quote, "Nebraska children cannot continue to wait or be denied these crucial services. It has been proven that with early treatment, many children diagnosed with autism improve enough they require less special education and some are able to mainstream into regular school classes."
This bill gives mothers like Andrea Beck hope. Hope that someday soon her child can lead a normal life.
"I don't feel that we should be setback because of his diagnosis," said Beck.
Nebraska is one of only 18 states that don't have mandatory autism treatment insurance coverage.
LB 505 was heard on Tuesday.
The legislature hasn't taken action taken yet.
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