Tricare to Combine Autism Programs

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Tricare is consolidating its disparate autism therapy programs into one Autism Care Demonstration Project for children of active-duty, retired and reserve component personnel starting July 25.

The new program will draw in Applied Behavior Analysis services now provided under the Tricare Basic plan, the Extended Care Health Option Autism Demonstration and an ABA pilot program. The ABA pilot was created last year to expand coverage for retiree families.

The program will eliminate a requirement for a diagnostic observation scale test after two years of therapy to ensure continued coverage; remove the annual or lifetime caps on the amount of ABA Tricare will cover; and simplify guidelines on diagnosis, testing and reviews.

Still, the new program raises some concerns, said Karen Driscoll, associate director for federal government affairs and military relations at the advocacy group Autism Speaks. First, she said, it does not extend coverage to special-needs children who benefit from ABA therapy but don’t have an autism diagnosis, such as those with Down and Fragile X syndromes.

Tricare to Combine Autism Programs
Tricare to Combine Autism Programs
Tricare is consolidating its disparate autism therapy programs into a single Autism Care Demonstration Project for children of active-duty, retired, and reserve component personnel starting July 25. The new program will draw in Applied Behavior Analysis services now provided under the Tricare Basic plan, the Extended Care Health Option Autism Demonstration and an ABA pilot program.
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