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Mom Sues BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota, HealthPartners and MN Department of Commerce on Behalf of Autistic Son
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (December 4, 2012)– Tracy Lee Reid, a Minneapolis mother of her son with autism (age 7), filed suit in federal court Friday against the state’s two largest HMOs and the Minnesota Department of Commerce, alleging discrimination in the treatment of her son under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (often referred to as “Obamacare”), as well as claims arising under the Minnesota Human Rights Act and the Minnesota State Mental Health Parity Act.
Ms. Reid’s action is believed to be one of the first lawsuits in the nation filed citing the Affordable Care Act on behalf of a child with autism.
Center to her complaint is the denial of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention Therapy (EIBI) services for her son Max, who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. According to most experts, including the American Psychological Association and Mayo Clinic and Harvard University pediatricians, EIBI is the primary and most effective treatment for children with autism. 31 states, the United States military, and several large employers (including the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic) require the treatment be covered.
“Early intensive behavioral intervention therapy is the primary and most effective treatment for children with autism in achieving their greatest capacity to function well in society and putting them on a path to being productive, empowered, job-holding and tax-paying adults,” said Ms. Reid.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism now affects 1 in 88 children in the United States. (The disease is much more more prevalent in boys, affecting 1 in 54.) As a state, Minnesota has one of the highest incidences of diagnosed autism in the country.
“We are looking at numbers of epidemic proportions, especially here in Minnesota,” said Ms. Reid. “Without EIBI, our children will suffer greatly, being unable to compete and be independent and productive members of society. What small amount of money the government saves the insurance companies during early childhood by excluding EIBI coverage, the State, taxpayers, and our children will pay for over decades to come, for their entire adulthood, in the forms of community-based care and social security benefits. It seems ridiculous to me that Minnesota, which is such a progressive state in terms of health care, would not fully embrace this treatment, which right now is the best chance our children have at becoming independent functional adults.”
More information about the lawsuit, and the complaint itself, can be found at www.insuranceawareness.net. The case has been assigned to the Honorable Richard H. Kyle, a senior United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota, appointed to the seat in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush.