SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Standing up for adults with autism, state Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, is co-sponsoring legislation that would require insurance companies to cover the cost of anesthetics used for dental care if the patient has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
“People with developmental disabilities like autism have to overcome many challenges, including the high costs of healthcare services and dental care,” said Mussman. “A trip to the dentist can be expensive for anyone, but for patients with autism, it can be extremely difficult to get the care they need without acquiring undue financial burdens. Because individuals with autism may find it difficult to sit through an entire procedure, anesthetics may need to be used, adding significant costs to their bill.”
Mussman is co-sponsoring House Bill 273, which would require insurance companies to cover the cost of anesthetics for patients with autism who are 19 or older. The legislation would also require Medicaid to cover the cost of the anesthetics if the patient is a Medicaid recipient. Currently, insurance companies are required to cover the cost of anesthetics for patients with autism if they are under the age of 19, but Mussman wants to ensure that, regardless of the individual’s age, they can still receive the care they need without additional costs.
During her time in office, Mussman has routinely fought to ensure that people with developmental disabilities have support systems in place that ease the burdens they may face. Individuals with autism can undergo extreme stress when visiting the dentist, often resulting in the use of anesthetics for routine procedures. People with autism can also have difficulties maintaining their dental hygiene, which may lead to more serious procedures and increased stress on the patient. Mussman believes that individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities should not have to shoulder the cost of a procedure that is necessary for them to receive basic healthcare services.
“There are many people in our community and across the state who have developmental disabilities that make it more difficult for them to receive basic care, such as dental work,” said Mussman. “They already have to overcome obstacles that many other people do not have to face, and we should be working together to reduce as many of those obstacles as possible, which includes ensuring access to necessary healthcare services.”