State: Autism Therapy a Medi-Cal Benefit

State officials said yesterday autism therapy clearly is a covered Medicaid benefit, and they hope to submit a state plan amendment by Sept. 30 to start the process to make it a Medi-Cal benefit for those under age 21.

According to René Mollow, deputy director of benefits and eligibility at the Department of Health Care Services, Medi-Cal children are entitled to applied behavior analysis — known as ABA therapy.

“Right now we’re working on the development of a state plan amendment. We want to engage the stakeholders in developing that,” Mollow said. “We’re looking to have it submitted at the end of September, and having it retroactive to July 1.”

DHCS received a standing ovation yesterday at a Senate hearing when Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) announced the news.

“Today’s announcement cements the original vision of SB-946 by ensuring that all kids, regardless of their insurance status, will have access to life-changing treatment,” Steinberg said in a written statement. “At the time, we recognized that SB-946 was a significant advance, but an incomplete advance. The circle has been completed.”

Medi-Cal children now receiving ABA therapy likely will have that care retroactively paid for by Medi-Cal.

Read full California Healthline article here…