Business Group Blog

Important Employer Considerations for Therapies and Supports for Autism

Employers Support ASD Treatment

The CDC estimates that one in 68 children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and diagnoses continue to rise.1 Whether that’s due to increasing prevalence or more accurate diagnosing, large employers must have a strategy for supporting plan members with ASD and the employee caregivers who assist them. 

Treatment for ASD is complex, with dozens of treatments available for the many behaviors and symptoms associated with individuals along the autism spectrum. New evidence points toward treatments that are effective which employers should strongly consider for coverage.2  With any coverage decision, employers have several questions to consider:

  • Does the evidence suggest that the treatment is effective?
  • What is the cost of coverage, taking into account quantitative and non-quantitative limits?
  • Will this benefit affect hiring and retention of top talent?
  • Are employees demanding coverage of these services?
  • Does the company plan design for ASD treatments satisfy mental health parity requirements?

Every large employer has its unique set of priorities and company culture, so the answers to these questions will need to drive decision-making. 

90% of employers cover ASD treatment

Employees caring for dependents with ASD experience higher rates of stress, depression, and health care costs than their peers. Employers can support employee caregivers through several strategies, including:

  • Coverage of respite care services
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counseling for caregivers
  • Parental education programs delivered by third party vendors 
  • Flexible work schedules for parents
  • Employee peer support groups for parents of children with ASD


Additional Resources

Benefit Manager Guide: Therapies and Supports for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Families

Numbers You Need: Coverage of Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatments Among Large Employers

Employers who want to learn more about supporting employee caregivers and their dependents can join us at the Workforce Strategy 2017 meeting in Austin, TX on September 26-28.  



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts about ASD. Accessed January 20, 2017.
  2. Warren Z. Evidence for interventions targeting sensory challenges and medical interventions for ASD: preliminary findings from systematic evidence reviews. Presentation to NBGH National Committee on Evidence-Based Benefit Design, September 29, 2016. Washington, DC.