For Immediate Release
Disability Advocates Call on Insurance Companies to Protect Autism Services
Lincoln, Nebraska, July 29, 2020 – Families of individuals with disabilities were informed in May that many would no longer receive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) at the Munroe-Meyer Institute that is vital for children with disabilities starting in September. ABA is an evidence-based practice that helps children with disabilities address deficits in social skills or self-care skills, or other behavioral concerns. This elimination of services came because of low reimbursement rates from Amerigroup, and Optum/UBH’s Commercial Plan (they are continuing with their Medicaid contract rates). The current reimbursement rates are below the cost to provide the services. Munroe- Meyer Institute, a leading provider of these services in Nebraska, has taken losses before; however, in the pandemic can no longer afford to take such heavy losses. While Tri-Care rates were also below market value, however, Tricare has adjusted their rates to ensure ongoing access from families, the other two companies have not.
This means that approximately a hundred families will no longer be able to receive ABA services. For the children affected, this may cause humongous setbacks in important skill-building. Families like Angela Gleason, who said, “My son Teddy who has autism was nonverbal up until three years ago. We’ve had to piece together services for Teddy.
ABA has helped him with his ability to speak and some behavioral issues. I’m afraid that if he stops receiving these services that he will slide back. In particular, with the pandemic that he will begin to lose social skills, he has lost progress on his speech, and he may become a safety concern.”
“This is unacceptable,” said Edison McDonald Executive Director of The Arc of Nebraska. “ABA services have long been under attack, which is why in 2014 Governor Heineman signed into law LB 254 a bill requiring insurance companies to cover ABA Services. Companies who are shifting rates below the cost to provide these services in an attempt to sidestep this law. It’s time for insurance companies to ensure families have access to the services that they need.”
About The Arc of Nebraska
For over 60 years, The Arc of Nebraska has provided advocacy to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. A nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors, The Arc has more than 1,500 members across the state.
Contact: Edison McDonald, Executive Director, The Arc of Nebraska, 402-475-4407 or [email protected]