• Petitioned The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

This petition was delivered to:

Secretary of Health and Human Services
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius: Protect the Health Care Coverage of Individuals with Autism

    1. Petition by

      Autism Live

Without further clarification from Secretary Sebelius, the Affordable Care Act could actually result in less coverage for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Congress directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to define the ten essential health benefits (EHB) that comprise the minimum insurance coverage required by the Affordable Care Act. Instead of defining them herself, Secretary Sebelius has directed each state to define the essential health benefits, jeopardizing existing health care benefits for individuals with autism and ignoring the intent of Congress to ensure coverage for vulnerable populations.

Secretary Sebelius's most recent guidance requires states to defray the costs of state mandates that exceed the essential health benefits. This means that, if a state chooses a benchmark plan that doesn’t include ABA-based treatment for autism and that state already mandates insurance carriers to cover ABA-based treatment for autism, then the state will be responsible for the additional cost of that coverage. In these challenging economic times, such guidance could cause states to repeal their autism mandates or allow them to expire.

 Thirty-two states currently have enacted autism mandates, which are laws requiring insurance carriers to provide coverage for ABA-based autism treatment. Those laws are the result of years of coordinated, tireless efforts of families, advocacy groups, and individuals with autism. In states without autism mandates, insurance carriers typically do not provide coverage for ABA-based autism treatment. The intent of Congress was that the Affordable Care Act would require ALL states to provide ABA-based autism treatment.

While ABA can be costly, the cost of doing nothing is far greater. Clinical trials have demonstrated that ABA-based early intensive behavioral intervention significantly improves the clinical outcomes for children with autism. Children with autism who receive this medically necessary intervention narrow -- and sometimes eliminate -- the developmental gap that autism creates between children with autism and their typically-developing peers. Without this intervention, studies have shown that individuals with autism will cost society millions of dollars over the course of their lives in special education costs, lost economic opportunities of family members, health care costs, assisted living costs, and more. All of society benefits when individuals with autism have access to the health care that they need in order to fulfill their potential.

By signing this petition, you are protecting the health care benefits of individuals with autism by urging Secretary Sebelius to honor the intent of the Affordable Care Act to include ABA-based behavioral health treatment for individuals with autism as part of the mental health Essential Health Benefit. 


The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Protect the health care coverage of individuals with autism. Honor the intent of Congress and define the mental health essential health benefit to include ABA-based behavioral health treatment for individuals with autism.

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Compassion in Action

      <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YkBtyMo2mfg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    2. Reached 2,500 signatures
    3. New York Law Requires Insurance Companies to Cover Cost of Autism Therapy

      <iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/R658qQty1U0?list=UUwxUNPXpfOeu_XI75guvcow&amp;hl=en_US" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

      New New York Law Requires Insurance Companies to Cover Cost of Autism Therapy

      Like us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/centerforautismandrelateddisorders/ WHEC TV speaks with Center for Autism and Related Disorders about the effects of the New York law that now requires insurance companies to cover the cost of autism therapy. For more information about autism treatment go to http://centerforautism.com/

    4. Reached 1,500 signatures
    5. Julie Kornack, author of the petition, explains the Affordable Care Act

      <iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/GOekm9XSk2Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

      ABA: The Possibilities are Infinite!

      Like Autism Live on Facebook at http://facebook.com/autismlive Tell Health Secretary Katherine Sebelius to define the essential health benefits in the Affordable Health Care Act by signing a petition on Change.org. Policy Analyst and expert Julie Kornack visits to tell everyone about the new petition and to encourage all of us to have our voices heard.

    6. Reached 200 signatures
    7. Four Senators Urge Secretary Sebelius to Make ABA Mandatory Benefit

      Senators Gillibrand, Boxer, Franken, Brown Push Feds to Ensure Autism Treatment Covered Under New 2014 Health Care Plans

      Write your representatives and ask them to support this effort.

      Read the full text of the letter here:


    8. Reached 25 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Daniel Finnane MORAGA, CA
      • over 1 year ago

      ABA has been demonstrated to significantly improve the quality of life for individuals on the spectrum AND to significantly reduce the costs to society of not providing ABA treatment. Without insurance coverage, ABA treatment is unaffordable for most Americans. If the ACA is intended to reduce healthcare costs, coverage of ABA for autism and related disorders must be explicitly included.

    • Lee Duecker MESA, AZ
      • over 1 year ago

      Have 2 nephews with Autisim

    • Anna Baker GERMANTOWN, OH
      • over 1 year ago

      My son has autism

    • Kenneth Davis LEXINGTON, KY
      • over 1 year ago

      I know many people afflicted with autism. And, there are more each day that are diagnosed.

    • Cindy Bennett PERU, IL
      • over 1 year ago

      At this time in Illinois self funded companies are allowed to opt out of autism coverage. Families are devastated that their company could make a decision that could cost their child their independence. How can a company opt out of coverage for autism but not opt of coverage for….diabetes?


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