by Becki Brenner, NCJW Co-Vice-President of Public Affairs

The National Council of Jewish Women Omaha Section will to sponsor an event to highlight a growing concern and call to action for those in our community who find themselves unable to obtain health benefit coverage for children most vulnerable. On Sunday March 30, 7:30 p.m. hear from someone directly impacted by this decision in the State of Nebraska and what those in the Unicameral can do to fix this horrible gap in coverage and how, when we mobilize our voices, we can make an impact.

Autism – we all have read about this devastating mental health diagnosis, the toll on families and the much-needed treatment therapies targeting quality of life and integration into a bright and fulfilled future. Please know there is a loophole that currently exists that allows states to deny coverage for therapies directed at improving young people’s lives.

The Affordable Care Act will not cover Autism therapies because Health and Human Services (HHS) has left it to each state to define what are the “10 essential benefits” covered under the Act.

We have a mental health parity law in Nebraska which states whatever benefits you receive medically, you must receive for mental health. However, here is the loophole the insurance companies are using. They do not cover treatments that are experimental, not based in science, or are educational rather than medical in nature on the medical side so they don’t have to cover it on the mental health side. They are claiming that Autism therapy is experimental, even with over 20 years of proven outcomes and is evidence based. The rationale used is that it is educational and not medical because it is teaching skills that are used in the classroom and in social settings and not for a medical reason. The Nebraska Unicameral can fix this loophole.

LB 505 has been introduced in the Unicameral to cover educational and other treatment modalities currently excluded from reimbursement. We Need Your Help to call our Senators and demand a floor vote on this important bill to allow equitable and fair treatment for our vulnerable children.

Join us at The Corkscrew, 10924 Prairie Brook Road in Rockbrook Village at 7:30 p.m. on March 30. Hear from Melissa Schop, a mother directly impacted, and join the NCJW Call to Action. Please RSVP to Holly at hollyweill@yahoo.com.