Some of the details of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma's plan were released via TV interviews on Tuesday, Dec 30, 2008. In the interviews with Fox 25's Britten Follett and OETA's Jason Doyle, Dr. Joe Nicholson stated that OT, PT, and Speech will be covered along with diagnosis of autism. There will be an annual cap of $ 25,000.00 for those services.
However, there will be no coverage for ABA or behavioral therapy due to BCBS's long standing and incorrect belief that ABA is experimental and does not have clinical research to prove it's effectiveness.
This type of statement has been a go to for the insurance company to deny children with autism the medical necessary and clinically proven therapies. BCBS did not take into account what the US Dept of Education, US Dept of Defense, the Surgeon General, American Academy of Pediatricians, and many other national and federal organizations and agencies have adopted as the most effective behavioral therapy, ABA or Applied Behavorial Analysis.
In what was thought to be an exciting development and breakthrough for members of BCBS of Oklahoma, it quickly fizzled out. However, we see this is a first step, perhaps small, but at least a first step towards providing the medically necessary and clinically proven treatments and therapies for our children and adults with autism in Oklahoma.