Autism Speaks Hails Landmark Federal Decision Calling Key Autism Therapy a ‘Medical’ Service Eligible for Insurance

Michele Trivedi, Little Star Board member and volunteer health insurance advocate, is an active member of the autism community, volunteers with the Autism Society of Indiana (ASI), the Indiana Resource Center for Autism (IRCA,) and Autism Speaks to promote health insurance coverage for autism across the country. Michele shares her thoughts about the recent landmark federal decision on autism therapy insurance coverage:

“We are very fortunate in Indiana, that through the advocacy of parents, IRCA, ASI and the Autism Research Centre (ARC), our state legislature recognized more than a decade ago that autism is a treatable neurological condition.  It also acknowledged that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a medical treatment for autism, when our Indiana Health Insurance Mandate was passed in 2000.

The recent decision by the federal government, noted in the Autism Speaks article, though not binding, will help all people with autism who do not currently have the benefit of health insurance coverage for autism by making it much more difficult for health insurance companies to claim that ABA is an “educational” program and not a medical treatment.  This will help families in Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) health plans (federally regulated health plans) to advocate for autism coverage.

Little Star Center has always been at the forefront in the efforts to advocate for insurance coverage for ABA therapy and will continue to assist in efforts to ensure that all children have access to quality ABA services and quality ABA health insurance coverage. We look forward to continuing to work with organizations like ASI, IRCA, the ARC and Autism Speaks.”

Michele serves on the Health Benefits Mandate Task Force for Indiana (appointed by Governor Daniels) and was appointed in 2002 by the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance to represent the autism community on health insurance issues for the development of Bulletin 136, which mandates insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders.  She earned a Masters of Science degree in Health Services Administration from Xavier University.

She donates her time to assist fellow Hoosiers with insurance-related issues. Her daughter, Ellie, was the “test case” for the enforcement of the Indiana Autism Mandate.