AFGE National President J. David Cox said the policy change was a good start but anything short of a mandate from OPM demanding full coverage of the autism treatments is cutting federal workers short.
“Parents should not have to worry if vital services will be covered by their insurance plan,” Cox said in a statement.
According to Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization, FEHBP will have 67 plans in 22 states with some form of coverage of ABA treatments. Autism Speaks addedthat coverage would remain unavailable in many areas with a federal government presence, including Washington, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
In a column published on Dec. 4, Washington Post columnist Joe Davidson said many federal workers living in out of coverage areas were disappointed with OPM’s decision. Krystal Wick, an employee with the Veterans Affairs Department in Milwaukee, told Davidson the lack of mandated coverage for ABA was making the FEHBP “substandard” to benefit plans given to workers in the private sector and local governments.
“The least that OPM could do is provide at least one option for [the autism] coverage to every federal employee in all geographical areas regardless of the employee paid premium price,” Wick told Davidson.