AFGE Applauds OPM’s Inclusion of Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment for Autistic Children in FEHBP





The American Federation of Government Employees lauds the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) recent announcement to have Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatment for children with autism included in Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) plans. For years, AFGE insisted that OPM recognize ABA as a clinically proven treatment for the medical condition of autism; however, OPM refused saying it was more an “educational” intervention than a medical treatment. Through AFGE’s efforts, beginning in 2013, 39 FEHBP plans in 22 states will offer some level of coverage for ABA. While this is a critical first step, it is short of the mandate in place in 31 states that requires private insurers to provide ABA coverage. “OPM still has not required FEHBP plans to cover ABA. It has merely taken the important first step of allowing coverage,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox. “While we consider this an important victory, we still must do more to ensure that the parents of autistic children have all of the resources available to them to care for their children. Parents should not have to worry if vital services will be covered by their insurance plan.” AFGE will continue to press OPM to require all plans to cover ABA on the same terms that they cover other therapeutic treatments for illnesses.