FL Lawmaker Pushes For Easier Early Screening

TALLAHASSEE (January 2, 2014) -- Sen. Jeremy Ring (D-Broward) is again championing legislation that would enable parents who believe their young child may have autism to visit specialists for a diagnosis without getting preauthorization from their insurance company.

Ring has introduced the bill, (SB.174), for six consecutive legislative sessions dating back to 2009.  

“Pediatricians are not necessarily trained to diagnosis autism,” Ring said in a report by The Florida Current. “I want parents to have direct access to those professionals, the psychiatrists and neurologists; the folks who do diagnosis it.”

Under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), screening for autism must be covered by most private health plans without cost-sharing at age 18 and 24 months. However, health plans can require "reasonable medical management techniques" under the ACA, including the "setting" of the preventive service.

Ring's bill would require health plans to allow at least three visits per year for screening, evaluation or diagnosis of autism.