NEW YORK, NY (March 16, 2010) -- Autism Speaks today joined Kentucky families and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding the members of the House for their passage of House Bill 159, which requires insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies, such as applied behavior analysis. The House passed HB 159 in a unanimous 97-0 vote. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
The final House bill stipulates that coverage for individuals in the large group and state employee market between the ages of one and seven will be subject to a maximum annual benefit of $50,000 and that coverage for individuals between the ages of seven and twenty-one will be subject to a maximum monthly benefit of $1,000. Individuals in the small group and individual market will be subject to a maximum monthly benefit of $1,000 regardless of age. HB 159 was sponsored in the House by Representative Jeff Greer.
"Autism Speaks applauds the members of the Kentucky House for their unanimous passing of House Bill 159, thereby extending a helping hand to families that have been financially devastated by the lack of insurance coverage for necessary autism therapies," said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president of programs and services. "We now call on the members of the Senate to follow suit and pass this bill as well, allowing the Commonwealth of Kentucky to join the ranks of states that have recognized the unfair and unreasonable burden being imposed on families of children with autism."
This General Assembly must have the courage, commitment and wisdom to do what is right for our constituents, the children of the commonwealth, by passing HB 159, said Representative Jeff Greer, Chairman of the House Banking and Insurance Committee.
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 treatment. Fifteen states Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin have passed similar autism insurance reform bills.
This is a great day for the children and families who are dealing with Autism in Kentucky, said Anne Gregory, Autism Speaks Kentucky Chapter Advocacy Chair and mother of a child with autism. Now there is more hope for their futures!