Action Alert from Arc/UCP of California: Call now to prevent regional centers charging for early intervention

3 Apr

There has been a major move in recent years to get insurance coverage for behavioral therapies for autism. Such a law was passed recently in California. The Regional Centers, who administer support for disabled Californians, have welcomed this shift of costs for early intervention services to insurance companies. The regional centers are “payers of last resort”. So, if you have insurance, the regional centers look to that to pay for therapies before they pay. All well and good. But here’s a new wrinkle: they are now trying to avoid paying the copays. Families with insurance will have to pay copays, coinsurance and deductibles for this therapy. In other words, families with insurance will have to pay part of the costs, where families without insurance pay nothing.

The Action Alert below makes this much more clear and tells people where they can call to try to keep this change from happening:

Dear Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz County Friends,

If you have health insurance that covers autism, early intervention, or any other treatment for you or a family member with a developmental disability, there’s a real danger that the Legislature is about to stop the regional centers from covering your copays, coinsurance, and deductibles.

But your local state senator, Bill Monning, is in a position to stop this terrible idea, which would make people with insurance pay for Lanterman Act services that everyone else gets free. Senator Monning is the chair of the Senate budget subcommittee that probably will decide the issue – one way or the other – on Thursday, April 11.

Please call Senator Monning TODAY. Ask him to stop the Brown administration’s budget “trailer bill” that would release the regional centers from their legal obligation to cover copays and deductibles for services and supports that are listed in approved IPPs or IFSPs. Tell him that, instead, he should amend the bill to make it clear that the Lanterman Act requires the regional centers to cover copays and deductibles.

A call like that is easier than you might think. And even a few calls sometimes can make the difference in how a legislator votes. I know, I used to work for legislators and get calls like that, and they really sometimes did make the difference.

Here are some hints on how to make those calls: His number is 916-651-4017.

And here’s the background:

Two years ago, we and virtually all the autism groups in the state supported a bill to require insurance companies to cover autism treatments that are in approved IPPs and IGSP. The bill passed and Governor Brown signed it, thanks to a lot of hard work by a couple of very dedicated legislators, all the disability groups, and a lot of people like you.

The bill was clearly intended to help people with autism and their families, not impose new costs on them. And there’s not a word in the bill that allows regional centers to pass these costs on the people with autism or their families. The Association of Regional Center Agencies even sought and obtained a legal opinion making it clear that the regional centers must cover copays. But some regional centers disagree. We’re heard from people whose copays and deductibles are so high they literally can’t afford the treatments that the Lanterman Acts says their family members are entitled to.

And now the Brown administration has proposed a budget “trailer bill” to say the regional centers don’t have to cover copays – and even to prohibit them from covering deductibles. We want to amend the bill to do the opposite.

Please look at the hints above and call Senator Monning today. And please send me an email and let me know how the call goes.

And then forward this to anyone you know in your area who might be willing to call. A few calls really might make the difference.

Thank you for your advocacy.


Greg deGiere
Public Policy Director
The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy in California
1225 – 8th Street, Suite 350, Sacramento, CA 95814

By Matt Carey

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