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Autism Speaks Endorses 2014 Kansas Insurance Reform Bill

January 29, 2014

TOPEKA (January 29, 2014) -- Autism Speaks endorsed legislation introduced in Kansas to expand autism insurance benefits provided since 2010 to state employees to cover more families.

The bill (HB.2531) was introduced by Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee) [left] and would require coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), for certain private health plans affecting hundreds of Kansas families. The bill was introduced with 34 cosponsors.

"Autism Speaks joins the Kansas autism community in commending Representative Rubin for his leadership on behalf of our kids," said Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks' associate director of state government affairs, and a Kansas resident. "The pilot program for state employees was an overwhelming success and families across Kansas have waited too long for the same benefits to become available to them as well."

Rubin's bill would require autism coverage by fully funded large group plans and "grandfathered" small group and individual plans. The measure has been referred to the House Insurance Committee.

The Kansas City Star reported last August that House Speaker Ray Merrick was determined to get autism insurance reform through the Legislature whether or not the insurance industry was willing to compromise. In 2012, an autism insurance reform bill fell just a few votes short of passage in the Senate; last year, the bill never got a hearing.

The pilot program was created for state employees under a 2010 law to determine cost impacts and the benefits provided to people with autism. The program was made permanent last year by the Kansas State Employee Health Care Commission. According to 2012 claims data, the annual cost to the state was $309,216, or 26 cents per member per month (PMPM). Claims data from other states has demonstrated the monthly per member impact has averaged 31 cents PMPM.