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MD Insurance Reform Delayed Until 2014

BALTIMORE (December 9, 2013) -- New regulations that would have brought autism insurance coverage to Maryland in 2014 will instead be reproposed in January, the Maryland Insurance Administration has announced.

The state proposed regulations in August that were to be finalized November 1, in time for enrollment in 2014 health plans. But the agency announced that it had received so many comments that the regulations will need to be reproposed.

The new proposal is to be issued in January and will require another round of public comments, according to Nancy J. Egan, the Insurance Administration's assistant director of government relations.

Maryland is one of just 16 states yet to require coverage of autism benefits, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA). Rather than enact a specific requirement, lawmakers and Gov. Martin O'Malley approved a bill requiring that coverage for autism benefits be clarified by regulators under Maryland's existing habilitative services law. The work was to have been completed this fall.

Autism Speaks, Pathfinders for Autism and other leading advocates responded to the Insurance Administration's proposal by urging that its provisions be strengthened. The recommendations can be viewed here