DENVER- Governor John Hickenlooper signed an autism insurance coverage expansion bill, SB15-015, to eliminate all visit and dollar limits on coverage for autism-related health expenses. The landmark achievement for the Colorado autism community also clarifies autism as a mental health condition entitled to the protections of state and federal mental health parity law.
“The passage of SB15-015 is fantastic news for the families in Colorado who struggle with an autism diagnosis. No longer can autism benefits be restricted by artificial visit or dollar limits, and no longer can autism be subject to different rules than apply to other conditions. Kudos to Senator Kefalas, the Colorado families, and the coalition of local organizations that came together to advance this cause,” said Lorri Unumb, Esq., Autism Speaks Vice President of State Government Affairs.
Grassroots advocates across the state worked with lead sponsor Senator John Kefalas to expand coverage for Colorado families affected by autism.
“I was thrilled to be part of the legislative process as I worked with Senator Kefalas, Autism Speaks, and other advocacy organizations on SB15-015. While my son will likely never benefit from SB15-015, it means a lot to know that starting in 2017, children with autism in Colorado will have one less hurdle to accessing medically necessary levels of ABA therapy,” said local advocate Cari Brown.
Colorado originally passed reforms that required coverage for autism-related expenses in June of 2009, and the expansion of coverage is timely as rates of children with autism continue to grow. Just last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their prevalence rates for autism in the United States to one in 68 children (one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which was a staggering 30% increase from 2008 to 2010.