New York, NY (MARCH 22, 2011) Autism Speaks, the nations largest autism advocacy organization, today announced its support for S. 22, an autism insurance reform bill, in the state of Delaware. The legislation would require private health insurance companies to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for individuals with the disorder.
Introduced in the Delaware Senate by Senators Liane Sorenson and Catherine Cloutier, and Representative Quinton Johnson, S. 22 includes coverage of behavioral health treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based autism therapy. Applied Behavior Analysis therapy would be limited to $36,000 per year.
We applaud and thank Senators Sorenson and Cloutier, and Representative Johnson, for their leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Delaware families, said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president for programs and services. Autism Speaks joins Delawares autism community in calling on the legislature to pass S. 22 and join the growing number of states that have ended healthcare discrimination against children with autism.
Many 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.
Twenty-four Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, 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 vote on similar legislation during the 2011 session.