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Monday, February 26, 2024

Little Friends – Introduction to Medicaid and autism


In March 2023, Drexel University/A.J. Drexel Autism Institute in collaboration with The Policy Impact Project and the Policy, Analytics, and Community Research program published through their Policy Insight Series a National Autism Indicators Report titled “Introduction to Medicaid and Autism.”

Admittedly, I have learned a fair amount about Autism since coming to Little Friends. However, Medicaid remains one of those topics that I feel like we know what it is; yet, know so little about how it works for those who need it.

With information taken from the report… Medicaid is the largest source of public health insurance in the United States. In 2018, Medicaid provided health insurance for 97 million low-income citizens in the U.S., including 9 million people with disabilities of all ages. In 2020, nearly 1 in every 5 people were ensured by Medicaid.

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Medicaid is important for people dealing with autism and their family members. Yet, the benefits available to those who are on the Autism Spectrum vary from State to State. According to the report, one in three children on the autism spectrum live in very low-income households, making Medicaid a critical benefit to affect their well-being and in some instances survival. Data shows that the number of children on the autism spectrum using Medicaid tripled between 2008 and 2016. While data is not available through calendar year 2022, we can only assume the number has grown given the massive growth in diagnoses claimed today.

What struck me about the report and its findings were the use of Medicaid being primarily under the age of 18. It was reported that there is a sharp drop-off in enrollment given individuals after turning 18 need to requalify for Medicaid benefits. Yet, there are a great number of benefits that people should know are available if you need help.

The services typically available to an individual on the Autism spectrum vary as the individual ages. The table below summarizes the ages and types of services typically used and made available:

Ages Services
Newborn to Age 6 – Childhood Developmental & Autistic Screening, Diagnostic Evaluation and Intervention Services, Developmental & Health Screening
Ages 12-17 – Transition Age Health Care transition services and supports for transitioning into adult developmental services and care
Ages 19-29 – Early Adult Services to support community living such as supported employment, life skills, in-home care, and self-care
Ages 30-64 – Adult Inpatient and outpatient physical & mental health services, plus, behavioral health car
Ages 65+ – Late adulthood Continued in-home care and diagnosis & treatment of health issues

The report referenced above has much more information that could be of use. It is good to know that help is available if you need it!

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Mike Briggs
Mike Briggshttp://littlefriendsinc.org
Mike Briggs is the President and CEO of Little Friends. Little Friends empowers clients with autism and other developmental disabilities to thrive in our community. Their groundbreaking programs and nationally-renowned staff provide lifelong opportunities for growth, so their clients can work, learn, play and experience the joy of life’s everyday moments.


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