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Autism Insurance Resource Center receives Flutie Foundation grant to help families and people with autism navigate insurance

Doug Flutie

Families who have questions or concerns about insurance coverage for autism treatments will continue to receive help from UMass Medical School’s Autism Insurance Resource Center (AIRC) due to a new grant from the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism.

The Foundation in December 2017 awarded a $10,000 grant to the AIRC, which sits within UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, to support its Technical Assistance Program. This is the fourth grant awarded to the AIRC by the Flutie Foundation Grants Program, which aims to ensure individuals with autism get access to care, lead active lifestyles, and grow toward adult independence.

“We are proud to work with AIRC as they continue to help families navigate public and private insurance plans to gain access to coverage for various autism treatments including ABA, speech, and occupational therapy,” said Nick Savarese, executive director of the Flutie Foundation. “We look forward to their continued leadership in this field now and into the future.”

Families may need various kinds of help, including understanding what services their insurance does and does not cover, acquiring secondary insurance policies, finding the right provider for a treatment, or how to resolve problems.

“We are the only state that has a center of this kind,” said Amy K. Weinstock, founding director of the resource center and herself the parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum.  “It has made a tremendous difference in helping parents get access to coverage.” Read more from Weinstock about the work of the AIRC on the Flutie Foundation Blog.

Issues such as coverage, co-pays, providers, and appeals can be difficult for patients to navigate. The additional funding will provide sufficient staff and administrative resources to patients in need of assistance during this transitional time.

“Insurance is complex and confusing, and we help parents figure out how to get what they need,” Weinstock said.

The breadth and scope of services provided by AIRC has expanded greatly as coverage has been extended through the Massachusetts Medicaid program, MassHealth.

The AIRC was founded in 2011 following the passage of a state law that requires private insurance cover medically necessary autism treatment. The cutting-edge resource center not only helps families and caregivers access and use the right health insurance for individuals on the autism spectrum, but also aids providers, employers, and educators on issues related to medical insurance for autism treatment.

For more information, visit the Autism Insurance Resource Center at the Shriver Center website.