Autism Speaks Endorses 2012 Vermont Bills Lifting Age 6 Cap on Autism Insurance Benefits
NEW YORK, NY (February 1, 2012) -- Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, today announced its support for H.736 and S.223, which would amend Vermont's 2010 autism insurance reform law by lifting the age 6 cap for receiving benefits.
Families paying thousands of dollars a year in insurance premiums would be able to continue coverage for the screening, diagnosis, testing and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for individuals after age 6 if the legislation is enacted.
Sponsored in the Vermont State House of Representatives by Rep. Jason Lorber (D-Burlington) and in the Senate by Sen. Anthony Pollina (D-North Middlesex), the bills would raise the age cap for coverage of behavioral health treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based autism therapy. The House bill would raise the age cap to 22; the Senate bill would set no cap.
"We applaud and thank Representative Lorber and Senator Pollina for their leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Vermont families," said Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks vice president for state government affairs. "Autism Speaks joins Vermont's autism community in calling on the legislature to pass this legislation and finish the job it started in 2010 by passing its current autism insurance reform law."
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.
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.