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District of Columbia Signs On to Autism Insurance Reform

July 24, 2013


WASHINGTON, DC (July 24, 2013) -- District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray has signed an insurance reform bill requiring coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) for autism through small group and individual policies starting next year. The District joins 33 states that have enacted autism insurance reform with a 34th state, Oregon, expected to follow shortly.

The new law amends the District's American Health Benefit Exchange that starts operation in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. One of the changes is a requirement that all small group and individual plans cover habilitative services, including "applied behavior analysis for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder."

Small groups are employer health plans with fewer than 50 members.

Gray submitted the amendments to the District Council in the Better Prices, Better Quality, Better Choices for Health Coverage Act of 2013. The changes, including ABA coverage, were recommended by the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority in March.

All individual and new small group health plans sold in the District starting in 2014 will have to operate through the new health benefit exchange. Existing small group plans will be required to provide the Exchange's benefits in 2014, then operate through the Exchange in 2015.

Minnesota last month became the 33rd state to enact autism insurance reform and the Oregon legislature has sent Gov. John Kitzhaber a bill that would make that state the 34th to enact reform.