Insurance changes to benefit Will's Way clients

By STAFF REPORTS,

Three insurance companies in Mississippi have agreed to provide more extensive coverage of services for people with autism and other developmental disorders.

Will’s Way, a Hattiesburg clinic, will benefit by being able to offer services to more families.

Will's Way offers behaviorally-based assessments and therapies for families, school districts, and community agencies to address issues interfering with a child's quality of life. Services are provided for typically developing children as well as those with special needs.

State law requires coverage of applied behavior analysis therapy for children through age 8.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney announced Tuesday that three insurers are removing the age cap and will provide services for people older than 8. They are BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, UnitedHealthcare of Mississippi and Magnolia Health.

“Children with autism continue to need services well beyond the age of 8, and many will need services throughout their lifespan.,” said Dr. Dannell Speights Roberts, a licensed psychologist and board certified behavior analyst who founded the clinic with Dr. Kimberly Bellipanni Hargrove in hopes of providing quality, behaviorally based interventions and therapy for families in south Mississippi.

“By increasing the age limits for mandated ABA coverage, it allows families and children to access ABA therapy, a treatment proven to increase skills and decrease symptoms of autism,” Roberts said. “ABA therapy is one of the most recommended treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders and now that treatment is available to individuals up to age 21 who have Mississippi based health insurance.

Autism spectrum disorder affects how a person processes sensory information and their ability to interact and relate to others.

Applied behavior analysis uses positive reinforcement and other techniques to improve socially significant behaviors.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, an advocate for people with autism, says expanded insurance coverage will make treatment available "to those who need it the most."

“As a clinic, we will now be able to serve more families, which is our number one priority,” said Roberts. “We are also able to hire more staff and branch out to other areas of the state, sustaining businesses statewide. By increasing the number of families we serve, it allows us to grow as a business and give individuals meaningful jobs and careers, right here in the Pine Belt.”

For more information, visit willswaybe-havioral.com. Their offices are located at 22 Millbranch Road, Ste. 1200

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