NEW YORK, NY (January 13, 2010) Autism Speaks, the nations largest autism advocacy organization, today announced its support for S. 262, the Vermont autism insurance reform bill. The legislation would require private health insurance companies to cover the screening, diagnosis, testing and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Sponsored in the Vermont State Senate by State Senators William Carris and John Campbell, S. 262 includes coverage of behavioral health treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based, medically-necessary autism therapy.
We applaud and thank Senators Carris and Campbell for their leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Vermont families, said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president for programs and services. Autism Speaks joins Vermonts autism community in calling on the legislature to pass S. 262 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.
Fifteen states Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. Several other state legislatures will vote on similar legislation during the current 2010 session.