Missouri State Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, pre-filed legislation to help all children with developmental disabilities get medically necessary therapies. Senate Bill 45 would require insurance companies to cover therapies like physical, occupational, speech and Applied Behavior Analysis for children with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Fragile X and many other disabilities.
Since 2010, Missouri has required insurance to cover those therapies for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), who make up 50 percent of the children in Missouri with developmental disabilities. Senator Hoskins would like to extend this coverage to the remaining 50 percent of children in Missouri with developmental disabilities.
“Access to these therapies is life changing for children with developmental disabilities, said Sen. Hoskins. “Proper therapy can mean the difference between an adult living independently and an adult needing full-time support — a cost often covered by the state.”
While most children learn to roll over, walk and talk as they grow, many children with disabilities need weekly therapy sessions to achieve these milestones. Therapy can run anywhere from $200-$300 per week, making it unaffordable for many families. For children with genetic disorders, therapy is their medicine.
“I am hopeful we will move legislation forward to help all children have access to therapies that are proven to have a positive impact on the outcome of their lives,” said Sen. Hoskins.
This legislation has far-reaching benefits, beyond directly benefiting the children who might receive therapy as a result of the law’s passage. Schools will benefit because more children will come to school with the skills they need to be ready to learn. With consistent therapeutic intervention, these children can learn the skills they will need as adults to be independent, to have jobs and to be active members of their communities.