One of the biggest problems with health insurance seems to be the difficulty getting companies to actually pay for pre-existing illness. Parents of children with long-term illnesses and conditions can attest to the financial struggle they often face while trying to get their kids the best treatment possible.

Autism is a bio-neurological disorder often diagnosed in young children and is characterized by symptoms of self-absorption, difficulty socializing and communicating and recognizing others as people. The American Academy of Pediatrics shows a 15% increase in children with autism in recent years, noting that 1 in 90 children are affected by the disorder.

A recent bill was passed in New York that, if passed by the governor, would require health insurance companies to cover screenings, diagnosis and lifetime treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders. While this seems like a godsend to parents of children with autism, it also means an increase in insurance premiums.

Some experts say the increase may be as much as 2%, but Autism Speaks executive vice president, Peter H. Bell said, “Our estimate is that it was closer to a 0.5 percent premium increase, and our experience in other states is that the increase is lower than expected.”

An increase in premiums may take place, but when autism treatment wasn’t even covered before, and parents were paying out of pocket, a premium increase almost seems like a break. While there are some areas of the state where treatment is often offered to families at little to no cost, in other areas parents often go into debt getting the best care for their kids.

I am no expert, and I’m probably one of the least politically minded people I know, but I have to say at least this is a step in the right direction. In the past parents were left feeling hopeless, uncertain and often fretful their child would not receive the care they needed. It may not be the perfect solution, but it’s a small step toward eventual peace of mind.

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