Autism Speaks Endorses South Dakota Insurance Reform Bill

PIERRE, SD (Feb. 10, 2014) -- Autism Speaks today endorsed HB.1257, an autism insurance reform bill, as South Dakota joined the ranks of states working to make their insurance laws require coverage of medically necessary treatments for autism.

The bill was introduced by the House Health and Human Services Committee which has scheduled a hearing for Thursday. The measure would require state-regulated health plans to cover therapies for individuals diagnosed with autism in locations including a provider's office, a clinic, or "in a setting conducive to the acquisition of the target skill." Treatments provided in schools would also be covered if they do not duplicate what services provided by the school.

"Autism Speaks is thrilled by this positive development in South Dakota," said Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks vice president for state government affairs. "Thirty four states, including Minnesota, Montana and Iowa, have all taken this sensible step and Nebraska is also pursuing autism insurance reform this year. South Dakota kids with autism deserve no less."

The bill was introduced shortly after Missouri released a report showing that its 2010 autism insurance reform law raised overall health care costs last year by just 0.2 percent.

In addition to South Dakota and Nebraska, autism insurance reform campaigns are now underway in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Utah and Hawaii. In addition efforts are underway to expand existing laws in Kansas and Maine.