Parents Frustrated Autism Bill Stalled In Committee

For a copy of the bill click here: http://nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/Current/PDF/Intro/LB505.pdf

For more information on Autism Speaks click here: http://www.autismspeaks.org/site-wide/nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. -- There were 460 bills introduced this session of the legislature, many of those are still stuck in committees. One of them is a bill to help families with kids who are struggling with Autism get help by making insurance companies cover the therapy costs.

LB 505 has been brought up by Senator Colby Coash the past couple sessions, but has stalled each time in the committee. Now some families are frustrated the bill isn't going anywhere.

One of those concerned parents is Christina Evans, a young mom whose son, Aiden, has Autism and is almost 5 years old. She can't afford the Applied Behavior Analysis treatment to help her son.

"It was like I couldn't believe that my insurance wouldn't cover it," said Evans. "We can't do ABA therapy and eat, we wouldn't have a roof over our house."

Her husband's insurance won't cover any therapy for Autism. The only hope is for the legislature to pass LB 505 which would mandate insurance companies in the state to provide coverage for kids under 21 to get this treatment.

Evans is frustrated this bill is stuck in the committee.

"It's just not going anywhere. It's sitting in a committee where one senator, Senator Gloor, is holding it and refuses to pass it to the floor and I just don't understand why," said Evans.

Senator Mike Gloor is the chair of the Banking, Commerce and Insurance committee and basically holds the cards when it comes to holding an executive session and hold a vote to push the bill out of the committee. Gloor says he isn't sold on LB 505 just yet, there's too many unknowns.

"The Affordable Care Act has certainly made this a more complicated issue, but I think to a certain extent, there's hope that sometime in the future perhaps there will be an opportunity for expanded coverage that will be helpful," said Gloor.

Gloor says he understands how beneficial this bill would be but there's another side to this debate.

"We look at it in that context knowing that we take one people on one side of the lifeboat means people have to get off on the other side of the lifeboat, it's a challenge, one we take seriously," said Gloor.

Senator Coash, the bill's sponsor, says there's more to this bill then what meets the eye.

"At the end of the day I think it's a money saving proposition in the state because when people learn how to be more engaged in their lives they rely less on services," said Coash.

Which is why if this bill doesn't go through, Evans is even thinking about moving out of Nebraska to make sure Aiden gets the therapy he needs.

"We're waiting to find out where this goes and if it doesn't my husband's already looked for jobs in other states," said Evans.

Another mom fighting for this bill is Kristin Mayleben-Flott who had to go to North Carolina to get this expensive treatment for her son Jack.

"Our son was his outcome prognosis was not very good. They said he'd probably end up in an institution, he is now 9 years old and in a mainstream school," said Mayleben-Flott.

A life-changing treatment Evans can only hope and wait for.

"I need help and I'm doing the best I can to provide and so is my husband, but we need help," said Evans.

Nebraska would become the 35th state to have this sort of bill. Gloor says 'never say never' when asked if this bill would ever be voted on.

10/11 reached out to insurance companies in Nebraska and they said since the Affordable Care Act was enacted it limits the marketplace on who could provide this coverage.


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