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Insurance Reform Gets Fast Start in South Dakota

PIERRE, SD (February 14, 2014) -- South Dakota families and autism advocates testified before a House committee yesterday of the financial struggles providing care for children with autism when their state does not require insurance companies to provide coverage.

The House Health and Human Services Committee will reconvene Tuesday to take action on HB.1257, a bill that would make South Dakota the 35th state to enact autism insurance reform.

"We have to find a solution for these families, because this is devastating to the families," Rep. Manny Steele of Sioux Falls, a committee member, told KDLT-TV after the hearing. "The longer we wait on these autistic kids, the harder it will be to help them."

Autism Speaks has endorsed the bill which would require state-regulated health plans to cover therapies for individuals diagnosed with autism in locations including a provider's office, a clinic, or "in a setting conducive to the acquisition of the target skill." Treatments provided in schools would also be covered if they do not duplicate what services provided by the school.