Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Clinic Notes: Mandatory Insurance Coverage for ABA for Autism

The Virginia Senate Passed a bill requiring insurance companies to pay for ABA, the most effective treatment for autism. The lobbyist for the health insurance company fought hard, but lost. Other opponents argued that the mandated coverage would result in higher coverage, perhaps even forcing some employers to drop insurance coverage for their employees. Autism Speaks said that mandated coverage would increase the cost by $10 to $25 per year. Tennessee, the sate where I live and practice, passed the Autism Equity Act several years ago which said that if insurance companies cover other neurological disorders then they must pay for autism. Parents have told me that when they have called the insurance companies to remind them of this they say their home office is not in Tennessee so they do not have to comply with the bill. Also ERISA, or employee funded insurance companies are exempt. If mandatory insurance coverage for ABA becomes law in Virginia I hope families fare better than Tennessee.

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