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Calls to Action

Autism Speaks Endorses 2012 Iowa Bill Expanding Autism Insurance Coverage to More Families

February 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NY (February 10, 2012) --  Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, today endorsed SF.2128 which would amend Iowa’s 2010 autism insurance reform law by expanding coverage to group plans for individuals with autism up to the age of 26. The current law restricts coverage to state employees.
Iowa families paying thousands of dollars a year in insurance premiums would be able to gain coverage for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including up to $36,000 a year for applied behavior analysis (ABA). 
Sponsored in the Iowa Senate by Sen. Daryl Beall (D-Webster), the bill has attracted 20 Senate cosponsors and is before the Senate Commerce Committee. The measure would set no cap on visits for services and include coverage for psychological, psychiatric, pharmaceutical and therapeutic services. 
“We applaud and thank Senator Beall for his leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Iowa families,” said Lorri Unumb, Esq., Autism Speaks vice president for state government affairs. “Autism Speaks joins Iowa’s autism community in calling on the legislature to pass this bill and move the ball forward on autism insurance reform.”
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. 
A majority of states (29) representing 70 percent of the United States population have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. A number of states, such as Iowa, Vermont, Rhode Island and West Virginia, are considering bills to strengthen their existing laws and Virginia has already enacted a measure strengthening its 2011 law.