Special Help for Special Needs

Russel Lazega

Russel Lazega

My four-year-old likes to bounce – I mean, really likes to bounce! This kid can spend unimaginable stretches of time airborne reaching fabulous heights and tuning out the world around him. I mean, man, can he bounce! They say it’s a natural product of being caught on the frazzled fringes of the autism spectrum. What we didn’t know (until recently) was that he can also do some other amazing things like read entire children’s books, add most of his numbers up to 20, and handily operate a computer. At least, we didn’t know it until he got some help . . . a little specialized help thankfully now required to be covered by insurance.

Sadly, many Floridians don’t know about a little- known law that mandates insurers provide basic coverage for essential therapies needed by kids with ASD (autism spectrum disorders). And as a result, countless kids forego life-changing care because of an insurance companies “Don’t ask. Don’t tell” policies. Parents simply don’t know to ask and insurance companies simply don’t tell if it means they have to pay. Here’s what to know: Florida law requires that most group health insurers cover at least $36,000 annually and $200,000 lifetime for ASD screening, Speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and applied behavior analysis for ASD kids.

Insurers subject to the law that don’t provide these benefits can be sued to force coverage. My firm and others give free consultations to see if you are covered.

I know that my son is so proud of how high he can bounce. But, I for one, am proud that someone made his insurance company realize that with a little help he can do so much more.

Russel Lazega is an attorney and author of two of Florida’s most widely distributed legal textbooks on Florida Insurance Law. He also represents accident victims and consumers at war with their insurance companies and is based in Dania Beach, North Miami, Orlando and Tampa, Florida. Questions? Contact: Russ@lazegalaw.com. a week! 

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