Lyons mom fights for autism insurance - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Toombs mom fights for autism insurance

Anna Bullard Anna Bullard

Ava Bullard can do most of the everyday things other 8 year olds can do. But her early years weren't as hopeful.

"From 6 months to 2 years, there was very little development," explained her mom, Anna Bullard. "She was non-verbal and it was obvious something was wrong.

At age 2, after six months of doctors visits, the Bullards got the diagnosis they already suspected - autism. But they got little else with the doctor's pronouncement.

"I was expecting to get the 1-2-3, the pamphlet of here's where you go. Cause I told them I want the best, the treatment that everybody's getting and saying that it works and she said you can't get that in Georgia. I was stunned." the mom recalled.

Georgia is not one of the 31 states that require coverage of autism treatment in health insurance policies. Anna worked with the national organization Autism Speaks to draft a bill to include it. So far, she hasn't found a legislator to introduce it for debate.

"They tell us they'll co-sponsor it, they'll vote for it, they'll get on board. But they hesitate to be the first one," she noted. "Nobody wants to be seen imposing a mandate or a fee increase on people."

But the higher insurance cost would not be as high as people might think, she thinks. According to Autism Speak's research, autism coverage would add 30 cents per month to each insurance policy. 

However, that coverage would help some families afford treatment that can run more than $100,000 per year. She contends children who don't receive treatment end up requiring more state care.

"One way or the other, it affects us all. Those left untreated can cost the state even more than that in social services and state care," Anna Bullard said.

She said she will continue to work toward getting the law passed that will help other families afford the care that can make a difference.

To follow her progress, visit

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