New legislation allows those with disabilities better insurance

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A new legislation expands coverage by leaving the language broad for all disabilities to get equal treatment.

Additionally, insurers can’t limit therapy visits without giving patients and doctors a chance to document that more sessions are medically necessary.

Before now it was only required to cover therapies for children with autism.

Lauren Jones of Missouri State University says if a child struggles in one area, they will likely struggle in more than one area “Speech and language skills effect everything. With communicating with just everyone in our daily environment, but also academic success, reading, spelling, everything comes back to language.”

Executive director of dynamic strides therapy, Brandi O’Reilly, says she hopes the new law will end the fight she says thousands of families have when trying to get access to the therapies their children need. “Decreases the burden on their parent but really just makes us excited that kids can actually get the things they need without a fight. Right now it’s a fight all the time for many of our patients to try to get more services provided that are medically necessary.”

She says she sees family’s fighting with insurance companies to cover their child’s needs. “We have children with severe disabilities that you would assume their insurance plan would cover therapy. And they may, or they may say we’ll cover 20 visits this whole year, that doesn’t get us anywhere.”

Beginning next year insurers can no longer limit therapy visits without giving patients and doctors a chance to document that more sessions are medically necessary.

The new legislation works to expand coverage by leaving the language broad for all disabilities to get equal treatment. “If they’re getting speech therapy they might say their first word on the back of a horse.” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly says early intervention is key for addressing developmental issues.

She says she hopes this law will give more parents an opportunity to intervene sooner.

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