Kasich Signs Order Creating Autism Insurance Benefits

COLUMBUS (January 9, 2013) -- Governor John Kasich conducted a ceremonial signing of his December order requiring coverage of autism benefits in the state's new health care exchange beginning in 2014. The order will also cover state employees once agreements are reached with the employee unions.

"The problem is this had been undone for too long," said Kasich. "We had a moment, an opportunity, to pull the Legislature in almost on Christmas Eve to deliver a present for all these families who play by the rules and for all their children. Today is family day in Ohio.”

The autism benefits will cover 20 hours of ABA weekly, 20 visits per year for speech and language therapy, 20 visits per year for occupational therapy and 30 visits per year for mental/behavioral health outpatient services performed by a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or physician. 

"Autism Speaks is grateful for Governor Kasich's leadership and for not giving up on our children," said Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks' assistant director of state government affairs. "Thank you for recognizing the fiscal and moral imperative of providing coverage for the treatment of autism. Your actions are clearly a win-win solution for Ohio."

Required as part of the federal Affordable Care Act, the health care exchanges will serve as online markets for individuals and small businesses to obtain insurance. The exchanges are required to include 10 "essential health benefits," including coverage of behavioral health treatment, such as ABA.