‘Lost all of his services,’ despairs dad whose son was cut from Medicaid – he was on way to treatment when he got email

A FATHER has been left worrying about his son’s health after getting abruptly dropped from Medicaid – their only accessible service to fully cover proper treatments.

Drew Peterson of Tampa, Florida, put his son Chaz, 5, in applied behavior analysis or ABA therapy for his nonverbal autism spectrum disorder.

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Drew Peterson is struggling to continue putting his autistic son through ABA therapy after being dropped from MedicaidCredit: WFLA
The Medicaid coverage ended in 2023 after it was being offered to people for special circumstances during the pandemic under the Department of Children and Families

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The Medicaid coverage ended in 2023 after it was being offered to people for special circumstances during the pandemic under the Department of Children and FamiliesCredit: WFLA
Peterson explained he is not struggling with money but to be able to properly afford the special ABA therapy

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Peterson explained he is not struggling with money but to be able to properly afford the special ABA therapyCredit: WFLA

The ABA therapy is the only service Chaz has seen results and progression from and his father wants to keep him in it.

“ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behavior works to real situations,” according to Autism Speaks.

“The goal is to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease behaviors that are harmful or affect learning.”

The therapy supports language and communication skills, improves attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics, and decreases problem behaviors.

Peterson was able to put Chaz in these services because of Medicaid, told NBC affiliate WFLA in Tampa Bay.

He received during the pandemic under special circumstances with the Department of Children and Families.

However, the services were cut off due to “Medicaid unwind” in 2023.

“We were on our way to service one day and basically got an email saying he’s been cut for Medicaid.”

Drew PetersonWFLA

After the unwinding process, Peterson was told his income was too high to qualify for Medicaid coverage. 

The issue is that ABA therapy is only covered through Medicaid and not Florida KidsCare, a health insurance program for kids, which is the default insurance after Medicaid.

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The father and son were only informed of Medicaid being canceled for them in an email that appeared while they were on their way to therapy. 

“We were cut in October and he lost all of his services abruptly,” Peterson told WFLA. 

“We were on our way to service one day and basically got an email saying he’s been cut for Medicaid.”

Peterson explained he is not struggling with money but to be able to properly afford the special ABA therapy.

“We’re not impoverished, but we have a child whose services are much greater than our income,” said Peterson.

“When you’re in that middle-class area, it’s very difficult to find services but during the pandemic, you could.

“So he was able to go do ABA therapy for almost a full year.”

Peterson said he has also noticed Chaz’s regression since being pulled from ABA therapy and wants to get him back into it as soon as possible. 

Multiple programs are working to get Chaz back into the proper therapy but Peterson noted it has not been easy.

“It shouldn’t be this difficult,” Peterson told WFLA. 

“Just help me get my kid services that’s all I want.”

The U.S. Sun has reached out to Medicaid and Peterson for comment.

The father and the son are struggling for a solution because ABA therapy is only covered through Medicaid

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The father and the son are struggling for a solution because ABA therapy is only covered through MedicaidCredit: WFLA

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