Eurolife FFH & Stem Sure launch the first Romanian insurance to cover autism treatment expenses

Deniza Cristian 28/04/2022 | 12:07

Eurolife FFH in partnership with Stem Sure (a medical services company in the field of stem cell collection, processing, and storage) launches the first insurance in Romania that covers the costs of a potential stem cell transplant for children to treat autism.

 

STEMCare Autism is a co-branded product developed by Eurolife FFH in collaboration with Stem Sure and INK – Insurance Broker and represents an innovation both in the insurance segment and for the stem cell harvesting industry. 

The new insurance product covers the costs of a conceivable autism treatment procedure with stem cells in children, up to a limit of 30,000 RON (equivalent to € 6000). According to specialists in the field, stem cells harvested at birth have the potential to treat autism, an intervention that can also be carried out in Romania. The treatment involves a single infusion, similar to a blood transfusion. In Romania, the procedure costs the equivalent of € 6,000, which can now be fully covered by STEMCare Autism insurance. The insurance can be underwritten for children aged 0-1.6 months, with an annual premium of 110 lei, through the company Stem Sure. 

STEMCare Autism is a revolutionary insurance product. And we are glad that together with our partners at Stem Sure we can show that insurance is a useful product that supports people in their life’s most difficult moments. For Eurolife FFH, this launch is another step forward in strengthening the portfolio of complementary products, new to the local market, developed in collaboration with companies that want to make a difference in the business segment where they are present, for the benefit of the end customer”, said Anita Nițulescu, CEO Eurolife FFH Asigurări România. 

“Think about what unravels in the minds and hearts of parents whose children, at the age of 2, still don’t talk back to them when they are talked to or who don’t look their father or mother in the eye! These profoundly human milestones confirm our relationship with our children and the love we give them. When these landmarks are not to be found, parents’ suffering is unimaginable, especially as it is upset by every word or whisper to their little one. I am familiar with this suffering because I coordinate the clinical study in which we apply these treatments and I speak to parents whose children benefit from this option. But as of today, that is changing. Access to young stem cell treatments, harvested at birth, is becoming more democratic!”, said Dr. Bogdan Ivănescu, CEO of Stem Sure and creator of the Doctor MiT medical platform.

According to Stem Sure data, 95% of the treatment request forms filled in by parents reveal that in the case of young children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, the parents have not considered harvesting their stem cells at birth, perhaps because they feared they would not have the money to call for this treatment if they had to.

The launch of this type of insurance is a responsible response from the companies involved in the field, as the incidence of autism is increasing worldwide. 

Seven years ago, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicated an autism incidence of 1 in 78, rising to 1 in 59 by 2020. According to expert analysis, the incidence is likely to rise to 1 in 44 in the near future, which would mean that in a maternity ward where 220 babies are born, 5 of them will be diagnosed with a mild or severe autism spectrum disorder in the next 3-7 years. 

Autism is considered a spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders with a wide range of manifestations. The causes of its onset remain yet unknown. The first evidence of a potential stem cell treatment for this condition was documented in the second half of the last decade when Professor Joanne Kurtzberg of Duke School of Medicine (USA) observed an improvement in autism-specific symptoms in patients receiving transplants of stem cells harvested at birth for the treatment of cerebral palsy. It is now known that cerebral palsy can be successfully addressed with this cell type, but the positive results related to autism spectrum disorder were a surprise. 

This has led Professor Kurtzberg’s work in the field of stem cells harvested at birth to be extended to other clinical trials, this time dedicated exclusively to treating autism with young stem cells. Thus, after the first two clinical trials conducted on dozens and then hundreds of children, testing the safety profile and efficacy of this treatment, autologous infusion of stem cells harvested at birth into the body has been shown to lead to improvements in the patient’s condition in 70% of cases. 

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