NEW YORK, NY (May 28, 2009) -- Autism Speaks last night joined Connecticut families and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding the members of the State legislature for passing Senate Bill 301, which requires insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies. The bill was passed late last night in a vote of 140 to 2 and now heads to Governor M. Jodi Rells desk for signature into law.
The Connecticut bill requires insurers to provide coverage for behavioral therapy up to a yearly benefit of $50,000 for a child who is less than nine years of age, $35,000 for a child who is at least nine years of age and less than13 years of age, and $25,000 for a child that is at least 13 years of age and less than 15 years of age. The bill specifically covers Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, which is recognized as an effective, evidence-based treatment for children with autism. SB 301 was sponsored by State Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney (D-11) and Speaker of the House Christopher G. Donovan (D-84).
"With the passage of this legislation, Connecticut joins the ranks of states that have recognized the unfair and unreasonable burden being imposed on families of children with autism," said Elizabeth Emken, Autism Speaks Vice president for Government Relations. "Autism insurance reform has gained significant national momentum. Legislatures across the country are introducing and passing bills that put an end to the discriminatory practices by insurance companies against children with an autism diagnosis."
In many states, insurers explicitly exclude coverage of these therapies from policies, which places a significant financial burden on families seeking to provide their children with necessary services. Ten states Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas have enacted similar autism insurance reform bills. Twenty-six states have introduced bills this year.
"The people of Connecticut spoke through their legislators today and collectively we said let's give Connecticut families living with autism access to appropriate medical treatments" said Shannon Knall, Autism Speaks Connecticut Chapter Advocacy Chair. "I am so proud of our Connecticut families for fighting this fight and grateful to our legislators for hearing our voices."