New bill would expand Tricare coverage of autism therapy for military children

Posted at 5:44 PM, May 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-15 17:44:22-04

NewsChannel 3 took action on behalf of military children with autism--highlighting Tricare's attempt last summer to cut back on benefits for applied behavior analysis therapy, also known as ABA therapy.

Now, Congress is joining the fight.

A bi-partisan group of senators introduced the "Caring for Military Children with Developmental Disabilities Act" this week.

It would require Tricare to pay for all therapy with an ABA specialist that has been prescribed by a doctor or psychologist.

Right now, senators say Tricare can get away with only paying for partial services.

In the past, Tricare also tried to stop paying for ABA specialists that didn't have master's degrees or national board certifications.

If the bill is passed, Tricare will have to cover the costs for therapists with bachelor’s degrees and state certifications.

The bill will also expand ABA therapy coverage to children with other developmental disabilities like down-syndrome.

Right now, Tricare will only pay if your child has an autism diagnosis.

The bill still has a long way to go before it becomes law, but many say it’s a step in the right direction.