SALEM (June 27, 2013) -- The Oregon Legislature's Joint Ways and Means Committee has released the autism insurance reform bill, SB-365, to the Senate and House floors for final action. If signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber, Oregon would become the 34th state to enact reform.
Sponsored by Sen. Alan Bates (D-Medford), the bill would require state-regulated health plans to cover up to 25 hours per week of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) for children through age 8. A seven-member Behavior Analysis Regulatory Board would be created within the Oregon Health Licensing Agency to license providers.
Meanwhile, a final House vote is expected on 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. The Senate passed the bill 19-10. State regulators currently have very limited enforcement powers over the insurance industry which has an exemption from Oregon's anti-fraud laws.