Part 4 in our series on Autism and Things We Would All Rather Not Think About is, drum roll please…. insurance. Health care coverage can be a complicated area that can (at times) feel like a barrier to accessing the care your child needs. As many of our families know, our children are complex and sometimes see many different providers. Here at the Seattle Children’s Autism Center we have nurse practioners, neurodevelopmental pediatricians, neurologists, speech and language pathologist, psychiatrists and psychologists all under one roof. What will be covered by insurance if your child has to see one of these providers? What about if you need to see two of them? Or several of them? Will the appointment be covered by your insurance? How much is this going to cost?
While we would love to answer specific questions about individual insurance plans (we’re not that good!), the point of this blog is to give you some tools that will help you know where to look for answers.
If your child is a patient at Seattle Children’s Hospital we encourage you to view Billing and Insurance: Frequently Asked Questions.
If your child is receiving mental health services (which includes various therapies and medication management) at Seattle Children’s Hospital, we encourage you to view Seattle Children’s Insurance Coverage for Mental Health Services.
If your child has Washington Medicaid please visit the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services page to learn more about mental health services available to your child.
While the resources above are specific to Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, there are some things we can recommend that may apply more generally:
1) Always call your own insurance company to find out your benefits. Usually, this number can be found on the back of your benefit card, listed as “customer service”.
2) Medical benefits and Mental Health benefits are different! Ask your customer service representative,”What are my mental health benefits?”
3) Cost can vary significantly between “in-network” and “out-of-network” providers. Although some providers may know if they are “in-network” with your insurance, you should always verify this yourself.