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TRICARE Plans Major Revamp of ABA Services For Military Kids

WASHINGTON, DC (April 22, 2014) -- In a report to Congress, TRICARE announced it will be creating a new Autism Care Demonstration starting July 25 that will consolidate all ABA programs into one uniform benefit for eligible TRICARE beneficiaries with autism. 

The new program will launch with the expiration of the current Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Pilot for non-active duty family members that has been problematic since its launch last year and has served very few children.

TRICARE intends to transition eligible beneficiaries to the new demonstration by the end of 2014. TRICARE reports the new demonstration will extend through December 31, 2016 while the Department of Defense considers coverage of ABA as medical care. 

Policy specifics of the new Autism Care Demonstration were not provided in TRICARE’s report. Autism Speaks will monitor the release of the program details and encourage TRICARE to publish its proposed policies and seek public input into the process.

"Transparency is important here," said Karen Driscoll, Autism Speaks associate director of federal government affairs and military relations. "Military families need to be able to plan for their healthcare decisions. Engaging with families, service providers, and medical experts is also important to ensure final policies meet the needs of military children in a manner consistent with best practices."

Autism Speaks continues to work with Congressional champions to require ABA coverage for all military children with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, and at medically prescribed levels. Earlier this month, Autism Speaks hosted Congressional briefings for the House and the Senate to highlight the need for the legislation.

Links to the complete TRICARE Reports to Congress can be found HERE and HERE.