LANSING (WWJ/AP) – As part of his bold plan for a healthier Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder wants to mandate that insurers cover treatment for autistic children.
One of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley’s children suffers from autism, but his efforts to push through legislation requiring the coverage have failed in the Senate. Snyder said “it’s time” for Michigan to join the 27 states that require insurers to cover the disorder.
Autism Speaks spokesman Rick Remington told WWJ Newsradio 950 that 27 states now offer such coverage.
“Unfortunately, in Michigan and in a number of other states that do not provide insurance coverage, many children with autism have not been getting treatment. So, it could make a big difference in their quality of life,” Remington said.
Remington said an estimated 15,000 children in Michigan are autistic and early treatment can actually save the state money in the long run.
Remington said he hopes the state legislature acts quickly to approve the governor’s plan.
“The cost for parents without any insurance coverage can reach $50,000 or more a year,” he said. “Without that coverage and without the resources, many parents unfortunately cannot give their children the treatment that they need.”
In a speech before the legislature Wednesday morning, Gov. Snyder also unveiled a series of initiatives designed to tackle obesity. Among Snyder’s goals are getting more veterans enrolled in health care offered by the Veterans Administration; giving children better access to healthier foods and exercise, and tracking pediatric obesity by adding their body mass measurements to a state registry.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.