Noem, Avera, Sanford health leaders offer ABA coverage plan in 2020

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PIERRE, S.D. An announcement from Governor Kristi Noem, Avera Health Plans, and Sanford Health Plan meant the addition of health insurance coverage options. This included a tough issue revolving around Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy. In an effort to help families pay for the treatment, the two health institutions are carrying at least one individual health insurance option for families next year.

NAMI offers family members an educational program, Family-to-Family (MGN).

The therapy is exercised for autism and autism spectrum disorders. It has helped families solve behavioral issues that would be otherwise detrimental to their kids. Lindsey Janklow is one of the parents that has seen the evidence of improvement from these therapy sessions. Her son was diagnosed with autism at 18 months and began ABA therapy shortly after. Data showed her son was banging his head in a harmful manner 67 times in one hour, but treatment appears to have eliminated that danger.

"We can see the data, it's tracked, you can see it decrease. It's data proven-it works," Janklow said.

The results do not come without a price tag though. Avera Health Plans Chief Executive Officer Debra Muller says about twelve children would result in expenses of over one million dollars worth of care.

Families looking to adjust individual health policies will have a small window of opportunity to make a decision beginning November 1 and ending December 15. If there is no access to ABA coverage through an employer in the individual market, a child only policy needs to be found between January 1 and December 15. Muller says a local agent can help through that decision making process.