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Autism Alliance Thanks Patterson for Efforts To Extend Autism Coverage to Employees

Public Date: 10/24/2012 2:30 PM
Contact: Bill Mullan, Media and Communications Officer
Phone Number: 248-858-1048

​Waterford, Michigan -- The Autism Alliance of Michigan thanked County Executive L. Brooks Patterson for his recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to extend Autism Spectrum Disorders health insurance coverage to all full time eligible employees in Oakland County government. In a letter dated today, Autism Alliance President and CEO Colleen M. Allen, Ph.D., encouraged the Board of Commissioners to adopt Patterson’s recommendation.

"The benefits to employers of adopting this coverage are numerous," Allen said. "The services and supports that would come with this autism benefit could result in positive outcomes that will directly affect families, and their ability to perform in their jobs on a day to day basis."

The Board of Commissioners Human Resources Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. today in Committee Room A, 1200 N. Telegraph, in Pontiac to consider Patterson's recommendation.

Patterson announced in an Oct. 22 press release that the law recently passed by the State of Michigan mandating Autism Spectrum Disorders coverage only impacted county employees who have Health Alliance Plan (HAP) because the county self-insures.

"It's the right thing to do," Patterson said. "Parents who face the challenges of raising a child with autism should not be faced with the question of whether they can access the resources available to help their child."

Patterson's recommendation would extend Autism Spectrum Disorders coverage to 2,843 full time eligible employees covered in the county's self-insured pool; 154 employees are covered by HAP. The additional cost to the county's balanced three-year budget is expected to be minimal. Blue Cross Blue Shield, which administers the county's self-insured health insurance pool, estimates the total additional cost to be $139,000 this fiscal year.

If passed, Oakland County's health insurance policies will cover applied behavior analysis, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and nutritional counseling for those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The Board of Commissioners Finance Committee will take up the miscellaneous resolution on Autism Spectrum Disorders coverage at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 in Committee Room A. The full board will vote on extending Autism Spectrum Disorders coverage to all full time eligible employees when it meets at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 in the Board of Commissioners Auditorium.

For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, Media and Communications Officer, at 248-858-1048.