New law improves coverage for autism in Iowa

May 31, 2022

On April 21, Governor Kim Reynolds signed new legislation (House File 2167) into law that updates the definitions of autism and medical necessity in a way that aligns with the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is an important reference manual used by medical providers. This change means autism will be protected by federal mental health parity law and secures coverage for a wider range of medically necessary care for autism. It forces any state-regulated health benefit plans that have been denying autism services, like applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, to now cover that medically necessary care. Age or dollar caps on autism treatment or therapies will not be allowed.

Autism Speaks led this legislative initiative and a coalition of other state organizations supported it. We are grateful to State Representatives Ann Meyer, Shannon Lundgren, Joel Fry and John Forbes as well as State Senators Jason Schultz and Amy Sinclair for championing the legislation.

We will continue to advocate for the proper implementation of the new law. Iowans who are concerned that an insurance company is not abiding by the new law should contact the Consumer Advocacy team of the Iowa Insurance Division.

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