NEW YORK, NY (May 29, 2009) -- Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, today joined the Nevada autism community to praise Governor Jim Gibbons for signing into law AB 162, which requires insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies. Nevada is now the eleventh state in the country to enact comprehensive autism insurance reform.
The Nevada law requires insurers to cover up to $36,000 a year for behavioral treatments and therapies, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy for children until age eighteen, or age twenty-one if the individual is enrolled in high school. ABA therapy is recognized as an effective, evidence-based treatment for children with autism. The law specifies that there cannot be any limit put on the number of visits to an autism service provider and that the maximum per year benefit will be adjusted annually for inflation.
The new Nevada 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 Nevadas legislators and Governor Jim Gibbons 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. Nevada is the third state to pass autism insurance reform this year, and joins ten other states Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas that have passed similar autism insurance reform bills. Colorado and Connecticut each have similar bills awaiting signature by their respective governors.
Assembly Bill 162 was sponsored by Assemblyman James Ohrenschall (D-12) and was helped throughout the process by the thousands of families in Nevada affected by autism.
"I am so excited for Nevada's families who have children with autism, said Ralph Toddre, Commissioner of the Nevada Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders. This is the best thing about the American Government - identifying a problem, proposing a solution to those who can fix it and getting it done. Thank you so much to all the families and friends who participated in this herculean effort. It isn't often our families win but they definitely did today."