How Does CMKAA Fix It?

The Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act addresses the following:


  • Autism is a complex neurological disorder and is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the United States.  More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined.
  • Data from the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs indicate that 23,000 military children have a diagnosis of autism.
  • In treatment of autism, early intervention and intensive behavioral therapy, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), are imperative to success.
  • Currently TRICARE segregates ABA treatment into a separate arm of TRICARE called the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO).  ECHO is a secondary enrollment to the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) and is only available for dependents of active-duty service members.  Those who retire after twenty years and WOUNDED WARRIORS forced to medically retire due to injury or disease are not eligible to access ABA treatments for their child.
  • The ECHO Program places an arbitrary financial cap of $36,000 per year on a military child’s ABA treatment program, which pays for an average of 11 hours of ABA therapy per week. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Navy and Army Surgeons General recommend a minimum of 25-40 hours per week of ABA therapy.

Cost of Treatment (Average)     $6,500 / month

TRICARE Covers (Average)     $3,000 / month

E-5 Base Salary (Average)      $2,700 / month

  • Frequent changes of duty station, cycling deployments, and waiting lists are hindrances to accessing therapies and support through public programs.  Gaps in care are experienced on a regular basis.
  • Coverage of ABA and other behavioral health treatments in the civilian sector exceed that of TRICARE.  Currently, 30 states (representing 70% of US population) have laws which require private insurers to cover autism-related therapies as medically necessary. These laws do not extend to the military child.  TRICARE is a federal program and not subject to state insurance laws.
  • HR2288, Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act, addresses the most critical medical issue impacting military families struggling with autism,  recognizes the medical necessity of ABA treatment for autism, and removes barriers of the ECHO program.


This is an excellent one-pager to share with Congressional staff. 

Please feel free to do so, we only ask that you cite 

Thank you.

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