Oklahoma Autism Insurance Deadline Looms
TULSA, Oklahoma - Families of children with Autism in Oklahoma are watching the clock tick down this holiday season to the end of the year when their children's insurance runs out.
"Every day all you think about is the end of the year is coming, the end of the year, so instead of thinking about 'yay' it's Christmas, we're thinking, please, wait Christmas," said Melody McAdams, parent.
The insurance that covers their children's therapy ends the first of the year, and they say it's too expensive to continue the treatment without it.
Oklahoma is one of five states that does not have an Autism insurance mandate. With one child out of every 68 in the U.S. diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, the number of children in need of these types of insurance plans is going up.
Opponents of the insurance mandate say it will raise insurance costs. Advocates say that's true but question the state's priorities.
"We can send people to rehab for drug addiction, and completely cover that," McAdams said.
They say it would cost roughly 31 to 46 cents a person per month.
"We both work full time jobs, we're not asking for a hand out," said Thomas Jones, father to a child with Autism.
"It could be the difference between them being a productive member of society and needing a caretaker the rest of their life."
Now these parents must make tough choices, like whether to move out of state or stay and continue fighting.
"I feel like we're losing, I feel like I've failed my child, I mean I feel like we're at the end of the rope," said Christa Schaefer, parent.
At the end of the rope and dreading the day the clock runs out.
Autism Reform Bills are being filed for the 2016 legislative session; however, that still means these families will have to wait at least another year for coverage.