To: Rep. McKell, M.,
Subject: SB57: "Yes." Please!
Dear Representative McKell~
I have watched Megan & Jeff Wilcox fight for their son who has severe autism for the last nine years. Megan would love to be on the Hill raising understanding of what it means to parent children with autism when insurance won't help, but she is embroiled in the needs of her family. I told her that if she took the time to write, I would distribute her message (below). Please take the time to read it.
Though passage of the bill won’t affect every family’s coverage, progress must start somewhere. Conservatively, SB57 should enable well over 1,000 children to receive vital therapy & will allow advocates to move to the next front in securing services for children with spectrum disorders. This is a vital start.
Please help Utah children with autism & their families by voting “yea” when your committee votes on it (hopefully Thursday), and on the floor.
I'm writing to again urge you to support SB 57 to prevent insurers from denying coverage of autism treatment to insured Utah families.
I live in the Ranches of Eagle Mountain with my family, which includes two boys with autism, as well as several other diagnoses. I understand that the insurance lobbyists are hard at work today trying to dissuade the legislature from this bill, which is critical to helping families like mine help our children learn to function so they are not reliant on state services throughout their lives.
I cannot be on the House floor for days at a time like insurance industry lobbyists. I am at home caring for my boys with autism. I am preventing my nine-year-old son from attacking his two-year-old brother. I am calming my five-year-old, who is having meltdowns today about not wanting to go to school, and not wanting to take a shower.
We are a family who is doing the best we can with our two sons with autism. But it isn't enough. Our children need therapy to help them learn, and to extinguish certain antisocial and violent behaviors. We are insured, and yet our insurance will not cover autism therapies.
Our children were diagnosed by a psychiatrist at the University of Utah. Their diagnoses are not subjective. They can be quantified by the specific behaviors outlined in the DSM V. Autism is only subjective if you do not live with every day of your life. In my household, autism is a reality that rules our lives.
I encourage you to be a leader in the House to support this bill, which will benefit the many Utah families struggling to raise children with autism.
Dear Representative McKell~
As a member of the House Business and Labor Committee, please do all you can to help expedite Senate Bill 0057 for Autism Services. Of all the bills before you, this one may have the most potential to directly impact Utah families and children this year.
I see many educated, responsible, and insured parents doing their best to provide for their children, but they are running out of savings, equity, & options. Many children will go untreated and in the long-term could cost our state millions in education and other societal costs.
When I called our (Utah-based) insurance company about getting evaluations for my twin sons, I was told that the evaluation would not be covered and that even if they were diagnosed, treatment would not be covered. The diagnosis alone would run $1,500-2,000, and I know families who pay $10,000-25,000 a year in therapy. There was no way our family could afford treatment without insurance coverage. Thus, there was no point in seeking medical diagnosis. Instead we turned to the school system. Currently, that is the only option for many hardworking, insured, middle class families & I assure you it is costing the state dearly. That is what the insurance lobby won’t be telling you this week. They are getting away without holding up their end – at the state’s expense.
In early childhood development, every year makes a difference. Please don't let this bill be delayed until next session.