Major Corporations Include Autism Benefits in 2015 Employee Healthcare Packages

Several major corporations, including Fortune 500 companies such as Bank of America, Comcast, Nike and Novartis, have voluntarily introduced coverage of behavioral health treatment for autism- a category which includes Applies Behavioral Analysis-in their employee health plans for 2015. Another, JetBlue Airways, will introduce the coverage to its employees this July.

Because these companies all self-insure their health plans, they are exempted from state insurance regulation and statutes, such as autism insurance reform laws. Their health plans are regulated under federal ERISA law.

“These leading companies chose to do the right thing for their employees by voluntarily offering coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA),” said Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks’ vice for state government affairs. To do so, she pointed out, will help companies attract and retain top quality employees.

According to a 2013 Mercer survey of health benefit plans offered by companies with over 500 employees, 82 percent offered some coverage for autism diagnosis and treatment. The survey found 36 percent covered behavioral health treatment, such as ABA, up from 32 percent the year before.

Companies who plan to cover autism diagnosis and treatment beginning in 2015 are the following:

Amica Mutual Insurance Company: Headquartered in Lincoln, RI, Amica has nearly 3,200 employees. The company, who was founded in 1907, claims to be the oldest company offering mutual insurance for car owners in the US. This company offers a diverse range of insurance products including marine, personal excess liability, homeowners, and auto coverages.

Bank of America: Based in Charlotte, NC, Bank of America stands at the no. 21 mark in the Fortune 500. Its 245,000 employees provide service to a wide range of customers from individuals to giant corporations. In addition to banking, it offers asset management services, investment services, and a host of other risk management and financial services. Bank of America has 15,700 ATMs and 4,900 retail locations.

Georgia Power: This Atlanta-based electric utility company has close to 8,310 employees began in 1902 as a streetcar company. It has grown to be the largest utility company in Southern Company’s stable of electric utilities. The company provides service to over two million customers in most of the 159 counties in the state.

Novartis: A Swiss-based global pharmaceutical corporation, Novartis employs nearly 135,000 people worldwide. Formed in 1996 with the merger of Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy, the company manufactures both prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as contact lenses, vaccines, and veterinary health products.

Rock-Tenn: Ranked #293 in the Fortune 500, this Georgia company specializes in packaging and other paper products. Founded in 1898 in Nashville, Tennessee, the company’s 26,000 employees are spread throughout the world in Rock-Tenn’s 245 facilities.

TD Bank: Formed in 2008 when Commerce Bank merged with TD Banknorth, New Jersey-based TD Bank provides various banking services to commercial, retail, and small business customers throughout the Eastern United States.

T. Rowe Price Group, Inc: Started in 1937, this investment firm provides subadvisory services, separate account management, and mutual funds to a wide variety of organizations, corporations, and individuals. Through its more than 5,300 employees, the company offers financial guidance and investment planning tools.

Comcast: The largest home Internet and cable service provider in the United States, Comcast stands at #44 in the Fortune 500. Based in Philadelphia, PA, the company operates in 40 states as well as Washington, DC. It owns NBC Universal, Telemundo, and also operates the Golf Channel, NBCSN, E! Entertainment Television, and Universal Parks and Resorts.

Nike: The athletic footwear and clothing giant, ranked at #115 in the Fortune 500, has nearly 44,000 employees at its headquarters and other locations around the world. Its trademark “swoosh” has become known worldwide for the company’s excellence in athletic equipment and apparel.

JetBlue Airways: This New York-based airline will offer behavioral health treatment for autism among its benefits beginning in July, 2015 to its 15,000 employees. Ranked at #466 in the Fortune 500, Jet Blue helps families affected by autism with its Blue Horizons for Autism program that it created in partnership with Autism Speaks. The program allows people with autism, as well as their families, to travel in an environment that is relaxed and welcoming.