Wellington family trying to find if Affordable Care Act will cover health costs for son with autism

WELLINGTON, Fla - One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act is to provide coverage for more medical services, and for  parents of children with autism, that is key. Up until now they've found many services are not covered.

Take for example Max and Sam Winter of Wellington. They are your typical brothers. But when it comes to insuring them, the costs are much different.  Big brother Max is autistic, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, medical costs for those with autism are on average four to six times greater than those without autism.

"Coverage as far as mental health doesn't exist," said the boys' father, Brett Winter.

But that could be changing.

"I think this is going to be another area where there's a huge benefit," said John Foley of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County.

Foley is one of the navigators signing up applicants for the Affordable Care Act. He says the new health plan lifts the restrictions on visits to doctors for mental health reasons.

"This is really the first significant time mental health services will be provided on a parity with surgical services and medical services," he said.

Max and Sam's parents, Melissa and Brett Winter, are hoping the Affordable Care Act will cover the treatments their son needs.

"Speech therapy, occupational therapy, none of it has been covered under insurance for us to this point," said Brett Winter.

Foley says they still need to see exactly how  it plays out, but at this point he believes more types of treatments will be covered and more costs will be included.

"There's no restriction on the visits. There's no restriction on lifetime maximums," said Foley.

But there's another potential problem

"One of the issues is the doctors we're seeing and the therapists we're seeing aren't taking the insurance," said Melissa Winter.

That point is significant as many doctors treating autism patients don't take insurance. We'll be following this to see if more of those doctors will be signing up to accept insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

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