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Oregon Governor Gets Autism Insurance Reform Bill

SALEM (July 1, 2013) -- The Oregon House of Representatives voted 56-0 for autism insurance reform and sent the bill to Governor John Kitzhaber (below). If signed, the bill would make Oregon the 34th state to enact autism insurance reform.

Both houses of the Legislature approved the bill, SB.365, sponsored by Sen. Alan Bates (D-Medford), unanimously.

The bill would require state-regulated health plans to cover up to 25 hours per week of applied behavioral analysis (ABA). A seven-member Behavior Analysis Regulatory Board would be created within the Oregon Health Licensing Agency to license providers. The new coverage would start in 2015 for public employees and in 2016 for state-regulated health plans.

The Legislature also has sent Kitzhaber SB.414, sponsored by Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland), which would enable the state Insurance Division to order health plans to pay restitution to consumers if they violate the law or their contracts. State regulators currently have very limited enforcement powers over the insurance industry which has an exemption from Oregon's anti-fraud laws.