Autism Speaks Endorses 2012 Hawaii Autism Insurance Reform Bills

NEW YORK, NY (February 7, 2012) -- Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, today announced its support for HB.2405 and SB.2631 which would require private insurance companies in Hawaii to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Families paying thousands of dollars a year in insurance premiums would gain coverage for the screening, diagnosis, testing and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Both the House bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Lee (D-Kailua), and the Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Josh Green (D-Kohala/Kona), include coverage of behavioral health treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based autism therapy. In addition, both bills would require coverage for autism-related psychiatric, psychological, pharmaceutical and therapeutic care.
The Senate bill would cap benefits through age 25. Benefits would be capped at $50,000 per year.
“We applaud and thank Representative Lee and Senator Green for their leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Hawaii families,” said Lorri Unumb, Esq., Autism Speaks vice president for state government affairs. “Autism Speaks joins Hawaii’s autism community in calling on the legislature to pass this legislation so that Hawaii can join the growing majority of states that have delivered healthcare coverage for children with autism.”
Some 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.
A majority of states (29) representing 70 percent of the United States population have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. Similar bills are before legislatures in other states this year.