PIERRE, SD (February 20, 2014) -- The South Dakota House Health and Human Services Committee today strengthened then unanimously approved HB.1257, the autism insurance reform bill, sending the measure to the House floor. The floor vote is expected early next week.
"Autism Speaks joins the South Dakota autism community in thanking Rep. Scott Munsterman [left], the committee chair, for moving the bill so quickly," said Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks associate director of state government affairs. "Because of his leadership, the bill has also been significantly strengthened through his committee amendments which impose no age, dollar or visit limits."
The bill would require state-regulated health plans to cover the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism. Covered treatments would include applied behavior analysis (ABA), psychiatric, psychological and pharmaceutical care, and speech, occupational and physical therapy.
South Dakota is one of just 16 remaining states yet to enact autism insurance reform, but is among a host of those states which are actively moving legislation to enact reform. Among its neighboring states, Minnesota, Montana and Iowa have enacted reform laws, and Nebraska advocates will kick off their 2014 campaign next Tuesday in Lincoln with Gov. Dave Heineman and state Senator Colby Coash.