NJ Medicaid Now Covers ABA for Children with Autism

April 21, 2020

For the first time ever, NJ children with autism from low-income families now have insurance coverage for evidence-based treatment. Earlier this month, NJ FamilyCare announced the launch of their anticipated new benefit that provides coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the standard of care in autism treatment.

With 40% of the state’s children covered by Medicaid, the impact of this benefit will be tremendous.

“For years, we heard daily from families who contacted our Helpline understandably desperate for this coverage to help their sons and daughters with autism, many of whom also have an intellectual disability and a poor prognosis without such treatment,” explained Autism New Jersey Executive Director Dr. Suzanne Buchanan. “For this reason, this coverage was one of our top public policy priorities. We are thrilled to celebrate this advocacy victory with the community.”

Autism New Jersey worked closely with state officials to advocate for this benefit, providing technical assistance throughout the process.

Dr. Buchanan praised officials in the Murphy Administration who shared this initiative as a top priority: Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Carole Johnson, DHS Deputy Commissioner Sarah Adelman, DHS Assistant Commissioner and Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS/Medicaid) Director Jennifer Langer Jacobs, Medicaid Deputy Director Carol Grant, and Medicaid Chief of Behavioral Health and Customer Service Steven Tunney and added, “These thoughtful and responsive state officials listened to the community’s needs and expertly designed a complex new benefit for children with autism.

Nadine Wright-Arbubakkr, founder of Nassan’s Place, a nonprofit in East Orange that helps children and families affected by autism in and around urban communities, expressed how meaningful this milestone is.

“This is a prayer answered for so many low-income families who have been denied access to ABA treatment. I would like to thank Autism New Jersey for their tireless efforts in helping to ensure all children affected by autism in New Jersey – no matter their insurance status – receive the same type of services that will enhance their quality of life. Their lives will be changed and enriched forever,” Wright-Arbubakkr said.

Autism New Jersey looks forward to ongoing communication with state officials and the community regarding access, implementation, and quality assurance to ensure the potential of this benefit is realized.


If you have questions about Medicaid coverage of ABA, please contact our Helpline at 800.4.AUTISM or information@autismnj.org.

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