To My New Insurance Company From a Mother of a Son with Autism

Dear New Insurance Company,

Last Friday, I went to pick up one of my son’s prescriptions.  He takes three different medications to help manage the symptoms of his ADHD and Autism. When I got to the pharmacy, I was surprised to find out that there was an issue. The pharmacist told me I needed to contact my son’s developmental pediatrician for authorization.  I didn’t understand.  Isn’t the fact that the doctor wrote the prescription authorization enough?  They told me I could pay for it out of pocket.  $400.00 for the one-month supply.  I said I’d contact his doctor and I am sure they would handle it.  I called the doctor and left a voice mail.  It was Friday afternoon, so I knew they probably wouldn’t get back to me until Monday.

My son had two pills left and three days in between.  My husband and I decided he’d take one on Saturday, a day we had a birthday party to go to and one on Monday, an ABA therapy day, and he’d skip Sunday.  I totally assumed this would be easy to remedy come Monday morning. I should realize nothing in the world of autism or insurance is ever easy, and combining the two can often be a recipe for disaster.

Monday morning, the doctor’s office called and said they contacted the pharmacy, who told them to contact you.  You told my son’s doctor that you would not cover the medication she had prescribed my son and offered a different, alternative medication.  How do you have the authority to override a prescription my son’s doctor said he needs?  You aren’t a doctor.  You’ve never laid eyes on my child.  You don’t know that it took more than 6 months of medication trials before we landed on a medication that worked. You don’t see the myriad of side effects the wrong ADHD or ASD medication can have on a child.  You don’t know some of the medications he tried made him stop eating.  You don’t know that some of them made him so drowsy he couldn’t stay awake for more than a few hours.  You don’t know that some of them made his already high anxiety even higher, resulting in self-injurious and aggressive behavior.  You don’t know that he eventually had to undergo genetic testing to find which medications would have the best chance of offering positive results so we could stop putting him through these awful trials.  You don’t know any of this, but you know who does?  His doctor.

His doctor knows that once we finally found the right medication that for the first time, my son began to speak in sentences.  She knows I finally I heard the words, “I love you.”  She knows that the right medication caused his self-injurious and aggressive behaviors to lessen.  She knows that he finally began to eat again.  She knows that he began to progress rapidly in his speech and ABA therapy.  She knows that for the first time, my son was able to sit in my lap and listen to a story.  She knows that the right medication brought my son back to me.  You couldn’t possibly know any of this because if you did, there is no way you could look my son or me in the eyes and tell us you were not going to cover this medication. His link to life.

I spoke with at least 6 people over two days before I reached a resolution with you.  You eventually said you’d cover the medication but not in the form my son was prescribed.  He had to switch from a dissolvable tablet to a liquid.  Great! But why did it take hours and days on the phone with you to come to a solution?  You that I pay a very high premium to in the hope that I can trust you.  Aren’t you supposed to be an advocate for my family?  Aren’t you supposed to help? Why is it that I have to continually jump through hoops ablaze and painstakingly peel away layers of red tape to get my son the services and medications he needs?

I feel like you try to make things so difficult so that I’ll just go away.  I am an Autism Mama. I am going nowhere.

Autism doesn’t come with a manual.  It comes with a parent who never gives up. – Kelly Magro

Published by

Amy Nielsen

Amy Nielsen is a former children's librarian of nearly twenty years. She now spends most of her time obsessively pounding on a keyboard. She is the author of It Takes a Village: How to Build a Support System for Your Exceptional Needs Family, Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her upcoming YA Worth it debuts in May of 2024. She is also a freelance writer for The Autism Helper. When she's not writing, she and her family are most likely crusing the waters of Tampa Bay.