The non-profit Consumer Watchdog and a doctor who works with autistic children are suing the California Department of Managed Health Care. Their lawsuit alleges that the agency is allowing insurance companies to refuse to pay for effective but expensive treatments for kids with autism. Consumer Watchdog’s Jerry Flanagan:
"Right now, when insurance companies say no to autism treatments, it’s the schools, it’s taxpayer funded programs that have to pay for treatments. We’re in a very difficult financial crisis in California. Hundreds of millions of dollars potentially are being siphoned away from the state budget to pay for programs that the insurance companies should be paying for themselves."
California’s managed health care department maintains it’s following state law in making sure that insurance plans cover most services for autism patients. The lawsuit claims the department has recently changed its policy to let insurers deny coverage for an essential but more costly treatment approach known as Applied Behavioral Analysis.