For Employers who Self-fund

Why your self-funded plan should cover autism

Autism coverage is becoming the standard. Laws in 42 states, including Utah, now require some form of coverage. Medicaid, considered by some to be the low standard for health plans, will begin covering autism in Utah in 2015 for those that meet the requirements.

Most employers that provide a “self-funded” health benefit plan are not subject to state insurance law and are allowed to choose what coverage they want1. Many employers choose to cover autism. In fact, 78% of large employers offer some autism benefit and 31% voluntarily include intensive behavioral therapy such as ABA2.

Why do they do this?  It may be that the company has a commitment to family values.  Maybe employee retention is a key issue.  Maybe they just want their benefits package to stay competitive.

We can tell you this:
When an employee has a child with autism, they may deal with tantrums, sleep disruption, and a myriad of other issues. Behavioral therapy has been proven to help, if they can afford it.  You may be paying your employee a competitive salary, but they may be paying as much as $50,000 per year out-of-pocket for therapy and other expenses.  That's where your health benefit plan is supposed to come in.

Autism coverage has been shown to have negligible impact on premiums.  If you'd like to learn more about how to provide it for your employees, please contact us at

Below are a sampling of employers in a variety of industries with self-funded plans who have chosen to provide an autism benefit3.

  • Adobe Systems Inc.
  • AOL
  • Apple
  • Aspect Software
  • Blackbaud
  • EMC
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • IBM
  • Imation
  • Intel
  • Maxim Integrated Products
  • Microsoft
  • Network Appliance Inc.
  • NVidea
  • Oracle
  • Qualcomm
  • Symantec
  • TriQuint Semiconductor
  • United Technologies
  • Yahoo Inc.
Healthcare and pharmaceuticals:
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Children's Mercy (Kansas City)
  • Greenville Hospital System (S.C.)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • HealthCentral
  • Lahey Clinic
  • Lexington Medical Center
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Eli Lilly
  • Partners HealthCare of Massachusetts
City/County Governments:
  • City of Atlanta
  • City of Cambridge
  • Salt Lake County
  • American Express
  • Capital One
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Wells Fargo
  • Progressive Group
  • State Farm

  • Deloitte
  • Arnold & Porter Law Firm
  • Morrison and Foerster Law Firm
  • Ohio State University
  • Princeton University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Utah
  • Chrysler
  • Comcast/NBC Universal
  • DTE Energy
  • e-bay
  • GM
  • Halliburton
  • Home Depot
  • Michelin
  • Time Warner
  • White Castle

1. In Utah, state insurance mandates are applied to school districts, public charters, state-funded higher ed institutions, and the state public employees health program (SB138).
2. Source:  2011 Mercer HealthCare Survey
3. Source: Autism Speaks