By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
New Jersey looks to be the 14th state in line to pass an autism treatment bill that will make it mandatory for health insurance companies to cover autism treatments as well as other developmental disabilities. Treatments for autism include speech therapy and speech language pathology. This will increase the already high demand for speech therapists, speech language pathologists, travel speech therapists and traveling speech language pathologists – all integral in autism therapy treatments.
On June 29th, bill “A-2238/S-1651” made its way to the governor’s desk, after passing by a large margin in the Assembly and unanimously in the Senate. The autism bill, following suit with similar such bills in other states, places a $36,000 annual cap on insurance coverage. The bill would require insurance companies to cover expenses related to the screening and diagnosis of autism (and other developmental disabilities), and also includes treatments such as prescribed physical therapy and occupational therapy in addition to speech therapy. Insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage based on the reason that the treatment is not “restorative.”
A study by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that in the 14 states where legislation has been (or is being) passed, one in every 150 children on average is diagnosed with autism. Other states that have recently passed similar legislation, and are likely to have increasing needs for traveling speech therapists, travel physical therapists and traveling occupational therapists, include Wisconsin and West Virginia. Children with autism and other developmental disabilities have multi-disciplinary treatment plans with a strong rehabilitation therapy component, therefore increasing the need for travel therapists and travel therapy jobs in schools and health care facilities nationwide.
Sources: Autism Society of America, IFA Web News
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.