NEW YORK, NY (June 25, 2009) -- Autism Speaks today joined New Jersey families and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding the state Legislature for passing the autism insurance reform bill, (S-1651/A-2238), which requires insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies. The bill now heads to Governor Jon Corzines desk for signature into law.
The New Jersey bill requires insurers to cover up to $36,000 annually for a child with autism 21 years of age or younger. Coverage includes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, which is recognized as an effective, evidence-based treatment for 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. Thirteen other states Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas have passed similar autism insurance reform bills. Nearly thirty states had bills introduced in their legislatures this year.
"With the passage of this legislation, New Jersey 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 of government relations. "Autism insurance reform has gained significant national momentum."
A.2238 was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, Assemblywoman Joan Voss and Assemblyman Vincent Prieto. S.1651 was sponsored by state Senator Joseph Vitale.