NEW YORK, NY (February 17, 2011) -- Autism Speaks today joined Virginia families, the Virginia Autism Project, and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding the members of the Virginia General Assembly for their passage of Senate Bill 1062 and House Bill 2467, which require insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based autism therapies, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA). After crossing over for consideration by the opposite chamber, both bills have been passed and will now head to Governor Robert McDonnells desk for enactment into law.
If enacted, SB 1062, sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Janet Howell (District 32), and HB 2467, sponsored in the House by Delegates Tag Greason (District 32) and Tim Hugo (District 40), will require insurance coverage of autism therapies for children between the ages of 2 and 6. This is a critical period for administering early intensive intervention therapies for a child with autism.
Autism Speaks applauds the members of the General Assembly for listening to Virginias families and passing SB 1062 and HB 2467, which will extend a helping hand to families that have been financially devastated by the lack of insurance coverage for necessary autism therapies, said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president of programs and services. We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Howell, Senate Majority Leader Saslaw, Delegate Greason, Delegate Hugo, and Speaker Howell on this issue and now call on Governor McDonnell to sign these bills into law, allowing Virginia to become the first state in 2011 join the ranks of states that have recognized the unfair and unreasonable burden being imposed on families of children with autism.
To date, twenty-three states Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. Several other state legislatures will introduce similar legislation during the current 2011 session.
"We are grateful to our patrons in the House and Senate for leading us down the path to passage by the legislature, said Virginia Chapter Advocacy Chair Theresa Champion. We hope the Governor will endorse our bill without any changes!"