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Autism Speaks Applauds Senate Members for Passing Autism Insurance Reform Legisl

February 09, 2011

NEW YORK, NY (February 9, 2011) -- Autism Speaks yesterday joined Virginia families, the Virginia Autism Project, and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding the members of the Virginia Senate for their passage of Senate Bill 1062, which requires insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA). The bill passed by a vote of 28 to 11 and will now crossover for consideration by the House of Delegates.

SB 1062 was sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Janet Howell (District 32). The bill will require insurance coverage of autism therapies for children between the ages of 2 and 6, which is a critical period for administering early intensive intervention therapies for a child with autism. A companion bill, House Bill 2467, was passed by the House of Delegates last week and has been crossed over to the Senate for consideration.

“Autism Speaks applauds the members of the Virginia Senate for passing SB 1062, which will extend a helping hand to families that have been financially devastated by the lack of insurance coverage for necessary autism therapies,” said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president of programs and services. “We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Howell on this issue and now call on both chambers to move the bills forward, allowing Virginia to join the ranks of states that have recognized the unfair and unreasonable burden being imposed on families of children with autism.”

"For eleven years parents of children with autism have appealed for help,” said Senator Howell. “Finally, the House has joined the Senate in requiring insurance companies to cover the most effective treatment. The bill is targeted to help kids with autism ages two to six achieve their full potential. The families and Autism Speaks are to be commended for their determination and perseverance."

To date, twenty-three states – Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin – have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. Several other state legislatures will introduce similar legislation during the current 2011 session.