NEW YORK, NY (April 6, 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 return of Senate Bill 1062 and House Bill 2467 to Governor Bob McDonnell. Both chambers approved four of the five amendments proposed by the Governor, who has indicated that he will sign the legislation. Senate Bill 1072 and House Bill 2647 require health insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based autism therapies, including applied behavior analysis (ABA).
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 two and six, a critical period for the administration of early intensive intervention therapies for individuals with autism.
Autism Speaks applauds the members of the General Assembly for listening to Virginias families and returning SB 1062 and HB 2467 to the Governor in a meaningful form. This legislation 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 26th state to join the ranks of states that have recognized the unfair and unreasonable burden being imposed on families of children with autism.
To date, twenty-five states Arizona, Arkansas, 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, West Virginia and Wisconsin have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. Several other state legislatures are expected to consider 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 Teresa Champion. We look forward to the Governor signing the bill as promised."