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Autism Speaks Endorses 2009 Arkansas Autism Insurance Reform Bill

March 18, 2009

Little Rock, AR (March 18, 2009) – Autism Speaks, the nation'’s largest autism advocacy organization, today announced its support for Senate Bill 913, also known as the autism insurance reform bill. The legislation would require private health insurance companies to cover the diagnosis, testing and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  
Sponsored in the Arkansas State Senate by State Senator Mary Anne Salmon, SB 913 includes coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based, medically-necessary autism therapy.
“We applaud and thank Senator Salmon for her leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Arkansas families,” said Elizabeth Emken, Autism Speaks Vice President of Government Relations. “Autism Speaks joins Arkansas' autism community in calling on the legislature to pass SB 913 and join the growing number of states that have ended healthcare discrimination against children with autism.”
Most states do not require private insurance companies to cover even essential autism treatments and services. In the absence of coverage, families often pay as much as they can out-of-pocket for services that can cost upwards of $50,000 per year. In the process, many risk their homes and the educations of their unaffected children – essentially mortgaging their entire futures.
Eight states – Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas -- have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. Several other state legislatures will vote on similar legislation during the current session.
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