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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Aliotta

Understanding Arizona Medicaid Insurance for Children with Autism

Updated: Jun 5

When it comes to healthcare services for children diagnosed with autism in Arizona, understanding the complexities of insurance can be daunting. One significant aspect worth discussing is how Arizona's Medicaid insurance shares similarities with Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). In this blog post, we will explore the HMO-like features of Medicaid insurance in Arizona and the importance of having commercial primary insurance alongside state Medicaid.

What is an HMO?

A Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is a type of health insurance plan that provides coverage within a specific network of healthcare providers. HMOs typically require patients to choose a primary care physician (PCP) who coordinates their care and provides referrals for specialist services.

Pros and Cons of HMOs


  1. Lower out-of-pocket costs compared to other insurance plans.

  2. Emphasis on preventive care and coordination between healthcare providers.


  1. Limited choice of healthcare providers within the network.

  2. Need for referrals from the PCP for specialist care, which can result in delays.

Arizona Medicaid Insurance and HMO Similarities

Medicaid insurance in Arizona operates much like an HMO for children diagnosed with autism. It provides coverage within a specific network of healthcare providers, which can limit the options available for families seeking care. Additionally, wait times for services can be longer than those experienced with private insurance due to limited resources and high demand.

The Importance of Commercial Primary Insurance Alongside State Medicaid

Having commercial primary insurance in addition to state Medicaid offers several benefits for children with autism:

  1. The broader range of providers: Commercial insurance plans often have more extensive networks than Medicaid, allowing families to access a wider variety of healthcare providers.

  2. Shorter wait times: With more provider options available, families may experience shorter wait times for essential services such as therapies and evaluations.

  3. Greater flexibility: Commercial insurance plans can provide more flexibility in choosing healthcare providers and scheduling appointments, which is particularly important for families managing the complexities of autism care.

Supporting Statistics and Personal Experiences

According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, children with autism who were enrolled in both Medicaid and commercial insurance had better access to care and fewer unmet needs compared to those with Medicaid alone.

For example, one family we've worked with at Sami's Angels ABA Services found that having commercial primary insurance alongside state Medicaid significantly improved their selection for ABA therapy providers, allowing their child to receive crucial early intervention services without delay.

Concluding Thoughts and Recommendations

In summary, while Arizona Medicaid insurance shares HMO-like features that can limit provider options and result in longer wait times, having commercial primary insurance alongside state Medicaid can help mitigate these challenges. By combining coverage from both sources, families can ensure their children with autism have access to a broader range of healthcare providers and essential services.

If you have any questions or need assistance navigating the complexities of insurance for your child with autism, don't hesitate to reach out to Sami's Angels ABA Services. Our team is here to support you and your family on your journey to accessing the best possible care.

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