With Craig's therapy clinic, $34,000 buys 8 hours of therapy per week. In Utah (where apparently therapy is cheaper), it would buy anywhere from 15-24 hours of therapy per week. Last week, as reported by KOAA, I learned that the Colorado Division of Insurance has determined that $34,000 is worth 4.4 hours per week. Needless to say, we are distraught. We moved here from Utah to secure long term treatment for Craig; and now the law that was suppose to help us is changing for the worse. Before moving here I literally called every single clinic from Denver to Cheyenne. After all those hours on the phone, I can tell you with 100% confidence that saying $34,000 a year is equivalent to 4.4 hours per week is inaccurate.
This difference may seem small, but I assure you it's not. Craig's psychologist prescribes 20 hours of ABA therapy per week. Up to this point, Bob and I have been making up the difference between this recommendation and what our insurance will pay for by doing the therapy ourselves. It's not ideal, but it's a close second.
After the changes take place, Bob and I will need to do over 16 hours of therapy a week - OURSELVES. We've done this before, and I can tell you it's EXHAUSTING (and not quite as effective). While we're lucky enough to have this option, thousands of families are not: both parents may work, they may not have the training necessary, or they may have other children to care for. Not to mention, we aren't sure how long Bob and I can keep this up; therapists note that burn-out happens quickly with parents. Additionally, therapists around the state will lose their jobs as the amount of therapy their clients can receive plummets.
That's why I've decided not to take this lying down; but I'll need YOUR help. I'm pleading with you to do the following:
1 - SHARE THIS. Share it with anyone and everyone you know - share it with anyone who will listen. We need to get this out in the open. As sad as it is, stories about autistic children losing services don't make the news frequently; I need your help to make this a big deal.
2 - SIGN THIS PETITION. The Colorado Division of Insurance has openly said, as reported by KOAA, that they will not change the policy unless they hear that people are upset. Please consider signing even if you don't live in Colorado - chances are you still know a child who will lose services as a result.
3 - CONTACT THE COLORADO DIVISION OF INSURANCE. I understand this is a little more time consuming. Write them a letter saying that 4.4 hours of therapy isn't an equivalent to $34,000 per year; tell them that 4.4 hours will hardly make a difference; tell them that they need to raise the limit for 2014. If you need a form letter, you can find three different options here. Please email letters to: email@example.com
4 - CONTACT YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE (for Colorado residents)
Colorado lawmakers changed the lives of children with Autism once before - and they can do it again. Write them, tell them that autistic children across Colorado are going to lose vital services, and ask them for help. Again, I've provided several form letters here. You can find your local representative here.