Lawmaker pre-files Autism bill

Friday, January 11th 2008, 11:01 pm
By: News 9

By Mary Joseph, NEWS 9

A state lawmaker wants to require autism insurance coverage.

The change could mean more expensive insurance premiums.

Sen. Jay Gumm said other states with similar laws had an insurance increase from 44 cents to$1.50.

Parents like Crystal Frost say the cost is worth it.

Frost's son, Spencer is autistic.

Spencer goes to various therapy sessions including occupational and speech - common needs for autistic kids.

"For example, my son, he is 4-years-old and he still hasn't spoken a sentence," Frost said.

The price tag can quickly add up with therapy running $40-120 per session without insurance, Frost said.

"I mean you can spend up to $100,000 a year, very easy," she said.

Frost has insurance that covers many of Spencer's needs, but she says it's not the same for many parents in Oklahoma.

"I have friends that have mortgaged their homes and have 3-4 jobs just to have health coverage for their children," she said.

Senator Gumm is hoping to change that.  He has pre-filed a bill that would require insurance policies to cover autism treatment.

"Early diagnosis and aggressive early treatment gives these children the best opportunity to have a normal life," Gumm said.

Although Gumm says there may be an initial increase in insurance, in the long run, he thinks it will save tax dollars.

Gumm said he hopes someone on the house side will also file a similar bill.