Autism Speaks Endorses Nebraska Autism Insurance Reform Bill

NEW YORK, NY (February 2, 2012) – Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, today announced its support for LB.1129 which would bar private insurance companies in Nebraska from refusing to cover the diagnosis and treatment of 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) for individuals up to the age of 21.

No limits would be set on benefits with the exception of applied behavior analysis, which would be capped annually at $70,000 up to the age of 9 and $20,000 thereafter up to the age of 21.

Sponsored by Nebraska Senator Colby Coash, LB.1129 includes coverage of behavioral health treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based autism therapy.

“"We applaud and thank Senator Coash for his leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Nebraska families,"” said Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks vice president for state government affairs. “"Autism Speaks joins Nebraska’s autism community in calling on the Senate to pass LB.1129 and join the growing majority 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.

A majority of states (29) representing 70 percent of the United States population-- including Kansas, Iowa, Colorado and Missouri – have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. Similar bills are before legislatures in other states this year.