Families Lobby At Capitol To Include Autism In Health Coverage

Wednesday, February 17th 2016, 7:12 pm
By: News On 6

Families spent the day backing a recently introduced bill that would end the fight for autism insurance coverage.

We’ve told you about 6-year-old Charlie and his family’s fight for the help they need to pay for his care.

They talked to legislators about House Bill 2962 in hopes to put a face to the issue. Charlie and his parents walked the halls of the capitol on Wednesday.

“The legislators really need to see what we're dealing with and how our children need our help,” Autumn Ryan said.

Related Story: Oklahoma Families Claim Autistic Children Being Left Behind

The Ryan family joined others from across the state to rally support for HB 2962.

The bi-partisan bill would mandate health insurance coverage for those on the autism spectrum -- coverage they currently don't have.

Oklahoma is one of six states where insurance companies do not offer some sort of coverage because of loopholes in the law.

“If Charlie had cancer or Cystic Fibrosis he would be able to get a lot of treatment,” Autumn Ryan said. “Now he's not able to get his basic treatment, he's not able to get disability because this wasn't a disability at birth."

Related Story: Tulsa Family Fears Son Will Lose Autism Therapy Coverage

The coverage would get kids like Charlie the therapy they need to learn to talk, eat, care for themselves and for some even work and live on their own.

“It makes me sad,” Autumn Ryan said. “Because at some point we're going to have a lot of autistic adults and not much for them to do.”

The issue has the support of some in both parties.

And while lawmakers agree there is a long road ahead, they are optimistic about finally finding a resolution to the problem.

“I think we're in this pretty healthy mode of give and take so that whatever we come up with doesn't make a huge increase in insurance premiums or water down the bill to the point it's not of practical benefit to the families who really need it,” State Rep. Jason Nelson (R) said.

Until then, they wait and hope their voices are heard.

Related Story: Oklahoma Autism Insurance Deadline Looms