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Calls to Action

Autism Speaks Urges Governor Brown to Halt Further DMHC Insurance Agreements on Autism Coverage

July 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC (July 20, 2011) – Autism Speaks today urged Governor Jerry Brown to stop the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) from entering into any further agreements with health plans to provide coverage for autism treatments because in practice they will do more to prevent than require coverage.

In a letter to Governor Brown, Lorri Unumb, Esq., Autism Speaks’ vice president for state government affairs, said, “…while the settlement agreements purport to require autism treatments to be covered, they effectively prevent this by insisting on licensed provider requirements that are not standard anywhere in the nation. Indeed, these requirements are also inconsistent with historical practice and programs within California and in conflict with the current policies of the California Department of Insurance.”

Unumb was referring to agreements the DMHC has negotiated over the past 10 days with Blue Shield of California and other state-regulated health plans. The issue centers around supervision requirements for applied behavior analysis, a mainstream autism treatment therapy, in order to qualify for coverage. Autism Speaks is supporting efforts led by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg to require ABA coverage through law, a step taken by 27 other states.