TOPEKA (June 11, 2012) -- A committee of the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) voted today to continue autism insurance benefits under the State Employee Health Plan through 2013. The KDHE decision averted the possibility of Kansas becoming the only state to eliminate autism insurance coverage and sets the stage for wider coverage for more families next year.
The state employee benefit was created under a 2010 law as a "pilot project" to determine whether insurance coverage for essential autism therapies should be extended to more families across the state. A bill this year to extend the coverage passed the House overwhelmingly, but then was held in Senate committee. An attempt to pull the bill from committee and on to the Senate floor failed by two votes.
"Contrary to information that was being disseminated by friends of the insurance lobby this session, the Kansas 'pilot project' did not require that autism coverage extend beyond the 2011 calendar year," said Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks associate director for state government affairs. "The KDHE voluntarily elected to extend coverage for 2012."
By again deciding to continue the existing coverage for another year, the KDHE decision sets the stage for renewed efforts in 2013 to expand the coverage to more Kansas families.