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District of Columbia Moves on Autism Benefits

Key panel recommends including ABA through its Affordable Care Act plans
March 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC (March 25, 2013) -- The District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority has recommended that coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) be required in the new health plans created later this year under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The recommendation now requires only the approval of the District Council.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia are deciding whether to include coverage for behavioral health therapy, such as ABA, as an essential health benefit in their ACA health plans. Roughly half the states have now chosen to do so, either as a mental health service or as an habilitative care service.

The recommendation was approved unanimously. It defines habilitative care as "Health care services that help a person keep, learn or improve skills and functioning for daily living, including, but not limited, to applied behavioral analysis (ABA) for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder."