Connecticut SB 301 Goes Into Effect on January 1, 2010

HARTFORD, CT (December 30, 2009) – Autism Speaks today joined Senator Martin Looney, Senator Joseph Crisco, Connecticut families and other autism advocacy organizations in celebrating the enactment of SB 301, which effective January 1, 2010 will require insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies.

Connecticut is now one of fifteen states to require health insurance companies to provide coverage for comprehensive autism treatment. Under the new law autism diagnosis will be covered as well as habilitative or rehabilitative care, pharmacy care, psychiatric care, psychological care, therapeutic care, counseling services and behavioral treatments including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

“Imagine the outrage if insurance companies refused to cover necessary treatments for children with cancer or diabetes,” stated Autism Speaks’ Co-Founder and Connecticut resident Bob Wright. “That is exactly what is happening with autism, and it must come to an end right now.”

Added Wright, “Families are taking out second mortgages, parents are taking on second jobs, and siblings’ college accounts are being sacrificed. These families know that starting intensive behavioral therapies, ideally before the age of three, offers a child with autism the best chance to meet his or her full potential and can actually reduce the services they will need later in life. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s also the fiscally smart thing to do over the long term.”

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.

Fifteen states – Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin -- have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. More than twenty other state legislatures will vote on similar legislation during the 2010 legislative sessions.