Tuscaloosa family advocates to City Council for more autism health insurance benefits

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Gracie Johnson

Allan Hinson, a Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue employee, and his wife Elizabeth Hinson found out around six months ago that their twin daughters Mattie and Milly were diagnosed with autism.

Luckily, their girls received an early diagnosis and were able to be guided toward helpful resources around Tuscaloosa, including the University of Alabama’s Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic.

Upon the start of the girls’ therapies, the family quickly realized that their insurance policy through the city of Tuscaloosa does not cover many of the therapies they require.

The family said these therapies needed for their girls were looking to cost them around $234,000 out of pocket.

“Families who work for the city and don’t have the coverage they were unable to go as frequently as they needed to for their children or they weren’t able to get services at all because they didn’t have insurance to cover it,” said Elizabeth Hinson. “With the number of children who are diagnosed with ASD annually, I think this will help impact a lot of families.”

Hinson said she took it upon herself and with the help of friends to begin advocating to the Tuscaloosa City Council to possibly add additional benefits to the existing autism coverage under the city’s health insurance plan.

This past week, Tuscaloosa decided to move forward and consider adding the additional coverage into next year’s benefits package.

“Hopefully if the council votes it in, it will become effective on October 1, 2022. So, we are really excited about that,” Hinson said.

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