NEW YORK, NY (January 19, 2012) Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, today announced its support for HB-69 which would require private insurance companies in Utah to cover the 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). The minimum benefit for coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) would be $50,000 per year.
Sponsored by State Representative Ronda Rudd Menlove (R-Garland), HB-69 includes coverage of behavioral health treatments, such as ABA, an evidence-based autism therapy.
We applaud and thank Representative Menlove for her leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Utah families, said Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks vice president for state government affairs. Autism Speaks joins Utahs autism community in calling on the legislature to pass HB-69 and join the growing majority of states that have ended healthcare discrimination against children with autism.
Many 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.
Utah parents raising children with autism are thrilled that our legislature is taking on this issue, said Mirella Petersen, of Layton, president of the Utah Autism Coalition. Its time for Utah to join the 29 other states, including Colorado, Nevada and Arizona, that have enacted autism insurance reform laws that allow access to evidence-based treatment that enhances the lives of families affected by autism."