NEW YORK, NY (February 19, 2010) -- Autism Speaks yesterday joined Missouri families and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding the members of the State House for their passage of House Bill 1311, which requires insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies, such as applied behavior analysis.
HB 1311, was combined with a similar bill, HB 1341, and passed on the House floor by a vote of 135 yes to 18 no. The bill now goes to the State Senate for consideration.
The final bill includes a $36,000 annual cap on applied behavioral analysis (ABA) for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) up to age 18 with no limits on the number of visits to an ASD service provider. Insurance coverage for non ABA related therapies does not have any age limits or monetary caps placed on it under the passed House bill.
HB 1311 was sponsored in the State House by Representative Dwight Scharnhorst. HB 1341 was sponsored by Representative Jason Grill. A companion bill, SB 618, sponsored by Senator Scott Rupp, passed its second reading and was perfected in the Senate earlier this month.
"Autism Speaks applauds the members of the Missouri House for their passing of House Bill 1311 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 through its third reading as well, allowing Missouri to join the ranks of states that have recognized the unfair and unreasonable burden being imposed on families of children with autism."
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. 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.