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Calls to Action

Bob Wright Urges Governors to Require ABA in New Health Plans

February 26, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC (February 26, 2013) -- Autism Speaks Co-founder Bob Wright has called on the nation's governors to do their part for across-the-board coverage for behavioral health treatment, including Applied Behavior Analysis, to address the nation's autism epidemic.

In letters issued at the conclusion of yesterday's National Governors Association conference, Wright specifically called on 24 governors who have so far failed to include the coverage in their new Affordable Care Act health plans that begin enrolling subscribers later this year.

"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has shown a willingness to allow states to include behavioral health treatment as an habilitative service," Wright said. In newly issued regulations, HHS gave the states latitude to decide which habilitative services must be covered when their ACA health plans go into operation. ABA coverage should be included, Wright said.

"Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, yet our response lacks any consistency," Wright said. He noted that 18 states have yet to enact laws governing state-regulated health plans, and that self-funded health plans offered by major employers are not required to cover behavioral health treatment under federal law. Federal civilian employees have limited access to benefits while many military families await coverage under a one-year pilot program.

The 24 states that have yet to include ABA coverage through their ACA health plans include:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming