NEW YORK, NY (February 16, 2010) -- Autism Speaks today joined Virginia families and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding the members of the State Senate for their passage of Senate Bill 464, which requires insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies, such as applied behavior analysis. The bill now goes to the House of Delegates for further consideration.
SB 464 was sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Janet Howell. A companion bill, HB 303, is being sponsored in the House by Delegate John OBannon III.
"Autism Speaks applauds the members of the Virginia Senate for their passing of Senate Bill 464 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 House of Delegates to follow suit and pass this bill as well, allowing Virginia 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.