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Halfway Home in Hawaii, Senate Votes 23-1 for Insurance Reform

HONOLULU (March 5, 2013) -- The Hawaii Senate approved SB.668, the autism insurance reform bill, by a 23-1 vote after little debate. A companion measure, HB.721, is on the move in the House.

Sponsored by Senators Josh Green (D-Kohala/Kona) and Russell Ruderman (D-Puna, Ka'u), the bill would include up to $50,000 a year in coverage for behavioral health treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In addition, the bill would require coverage for autism-related psychiatric, psychological, pharmaceutical and therapeutic care.

Benefits would apply though age 25.

The Senate and House bills have been supported by Autism Speaks, the Hawaii Medical Association, the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Hawaii Autism Foundation, the Hawaii Special Education Advisory Council, the Hawaii Disability Rights Center, the Community Children's Council of Hawaii, Family Voices of Hawaii, the Community Alliance for Mental Health, parents and providers.