Last month, CMS announced that comprehensive autism services must be covered for children under all state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program plans. Advocates believe coverage of applied behavioral analysis (ABA), which uses positive reinforcement and other techniques to encourage behavior change, should be covered. According to experts, ABA is the most accepted and effective treatment for autism that isn’t experimental or investigational. Although some states provide limited coverage to certain age groups, the new policy will require mandatory coverage for everybody under 21. CMS has stated that Medicaid programs must cover a full range of autism services under the “early and periodic screening, diagnostic and treatment services” provision of the law. However, some states are concerned about the requirement saying that it doesn’t cover people with Asperger’s syndrome or other forms of autism spectrum disorder.
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