Georgia celebrates expanded coverage of autism services

May 31, 2022

Governor Brian Kemp signed the Mental Health Parity Act into law which is aimed at improving the state’s mental and behavioral health care system. Every single state legislator voted in support of the new law, demonstrating the lawmakers' commitment to Georgians who need mental health support. This new law boosts protections for autistic individuals and improves coverage of autism services by Medicaid, the State Health Benefit Plan and other state-regulated health plans.

It aims to enforce the federal mental health parity law passed in 2008 which prohibits health plans from using dollar caps, age caps or other discriminatory limitations on services. Further, the new law puts pressure on the insurers to improve coverage by requiring them to report to state officials that they are providing the same level of benefits for mental health disorders as for physical illness.

The new law also included some financial advancements benefiting the autism community. First, it requires publicly funded insurance programs to spend more on patient care. Second, it authorizes loan forgiveness for people studying to become mental health professionals. And third, it approved $200 million in new money for the state’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

We pledge to continue advocating for proper implementation of these new policies and will continue to fight for change that improves the lives of people with autism across the spectrum and throughout the life span. To stay up to date on advocacy news throughout the year, sign-up for advocacy alerts or consider joining our Grassroots Advocacy Network.