Editor’s note: This is one of 10 employers chosen for Employee Benefit News’ Benefits Leadership awards, spotlighting companies who are taking a fresh approach to employee benefits.
Despite the prevalence of autism in America — one in every 68 children in the United States is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — benefits for the condition aren’t nearly as common.
“ABA [applied behavioral analytics], which is considered the standard of care provided, historically has been left out of coverage plans,” says Lorri Unumb, vice president, state government affairs, for Autism Speaks. But more employers are now warming to the idea. Financial giant JPMorgan Chase is one of those companies.
JPMorgan Chase, the investment and retail bank, began offering autism benefits to its 160,000 U.S. employees starting on Jan. 1, 2014, following a well-received autism awareness event that took place inside the firm in 2013.
“It was so well-received that people asked for autism coverage in the medical plan, and we launched that [in 2014.] We continue to see very happy families and employees,” says Lyn Marie Pilgrim, executive director, benefits design & strategy, JPMorgan Chase.
JPMorgan Chase provides coverage for the initial autism diagnosis and the various types of therapies that are often prescribed for the neurobiological disorder. “That could include ABA, cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional counseling, periodic developmental screening, individual or group family therapy, speech and occupational and physical therapy, as necessary. And, of course, medication management,” she says.
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