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Autism Speaks Endorses 2009 Tennessee Autism Insurance Reform Bill

Nashville, TN (April 30, 2009) – Autism Speaks, the nation'’s largest autism advocacy organization, today announced its support for House Bill 2105, the autism insurance reform bill. The legislation would require private health insurance companies to cover the medically necessary behavioral therapy services for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The bill stipulates that coverage for behavioral therapy will be subject to a $50,000 maximum benefit per year for an eligible person up to the age of nine and a $25,000 maximum benefit per year for an eligible person between the age of nine and sixteen.

Sponsored in the Tennessee State House by State Representative David Shepard (D-69), HB 2105 includes coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based, medically-necessary autism therapy.

“We applaud and thank Representative Shepard for his leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Tennessee families,” said Elizabeth Emken, Autism Speaks Vice President of Government Relations. “Autism Speaks joins Tennessee’s autism community in calling on the legislature to pass HB 2105 and join the growing number of states that have ended healthcare discrimination against children with autism.”
Most states do not require private insurance companies to cover even essential autism treatments and services. In the absence of coverage, families often pay as much as they can out-of-pocket for services that can cost upwards of $50,000 per year. In the process, many risk their homes and the educations of their unaffected children – essentially mortgaging their entire futures.

Ten states – Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas -- have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. Several other state legislatures will vote on similar legislation during the current session.
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