NEW YORK, NY (June 3, 2009) -- Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, yesterday joined the Colorado autism community to praise Governor Bill Ritter Jr. for signing into law Senate Bill 09-244, which requires insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies. Colorado is now the twelfth state in the country to enact comprehensive autism insurance reform.
The Colorado law requires insurers to provide coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, a recognized effective, evidence-based treatment for children with autism. SB 09-244 was sponsored by State Senator Brandon Shaffer (D-17) in the State Senate and was shepherded through the State House by Representative Dianne Primavera.
"Health care reform is a central part of the Colorado Promise and my strategy for leading Colorado forward," Gov. Ritter said. "Over the last 2½ years, we've increased availability, improved quality and addressed costs. The bills I am signing today will help continue our efforts to build a strong, sustainable health care system for Colorado."
The new Colorado law represents another major step in the national effort to secure autism insurance coverage and provide families the help they so desperately need and deserve, said Elizabeth Emken, Autism Speaks Vice President of Government Relations. Legislatures across the country are introducing and passing bills that put an end to the discriminatory practices by insurance companies against children with an autism diagnosis. We thank Colorados legislators and Governor Bill Ritter Jr. for having the courage to put families and their needs first".
In many states, insurers explicitly exclude coverage of these therapies from policies, which places a significant financial burden on families seeking to provide their children with necessary services. Colorado is the fourth state to pass autism insurance reform this year, and joins eleven other states Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas that have passed similar autism insurance reform bills. Connecticut has a similar bill awaiting signature by the governor.
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