NEW YORK, NY (April 23, 2009) -- Autism Speaks today joined Missouri families and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding the members of the State Senate for passing Assembly Bill 167, which requires insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies. The bill now heads to the State House for further action.
The Missouri Senate bill requires insurers to cover up to $55,000 annually for a child with autism under the age of 15 specifically for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, which is recognized as an effective, evidence-based treatment for children with autism. SB 167 was sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Scott B. Rupp (R-2).
"Autism Speaks applauds the members of the Missouri State Senate for their passing Senate Bill 167 and extending a helping hand to families that have been financially devastated by the lack of insurance coverage for necessary autism therapies," said Elizabeth Emken, Autism Speaks Vice President of Government Relations. "We now call on the members of the state House to follow suit and pass their bill, House Bill 357 as well, allowing Missouri to join the ranks of states that have recognized the unfair and unreasonable burden being imposed on families of children with autism."
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. Ten states Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas have passed similar autism insurance reform bills. Twenty-six states have introduced bills this year.