MONTPELIER, VT (May 16, 2012) Autism Speaks today praised Governor Peter Shumlin for signing S.223, a bill that will dramatically improve the coverage provided under the states 2010 autism insurance law. The new law is one of several initiatives moving across the nation to make existing state autism insurance reform laws even stronger.
Sponsored by Senator Anthony Pollina (D-North Middlesex), the new law will require coverage for the screening, diagnosis, testing and treatment of childhood development disorders, including autism, from birth through age 21. The 2010 law limited benefits to children aged 18 months through six years old.
Coverage includes state-regulated private individual and group health insurance plans, as well as Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, or any other public health care assistance program. The Medicaid and public health plan provisions take effect July 1; the private health plan coverage begins October 1.
Autism Speaks is proud to have worked with Governor Shumlin, the Vermont Legislature and the states advocacy community in making a great autism insurance reform law even better, said Judith Ursitti, Autism Speaks director of state government affairs. The winners are the many Vermont families who will now gain affordable access to treatments that are proven to make a difference in the quality of life for children and young adults with autism.
The new law requires the Vermont Agency of Human Services, in consultation with Autism Speaks and health insurers, to assess whether eligible individuals are receiving evidence-based services, how the services could be improved, and their fiscal impact by January 15, 2014.
In addition to the new Vermont law, the Louisiana Legislature on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill that would strengthen its 2008 law by raising the age limit for coverage from 16 to 21 and eliminating a $144,000 lifetime cap on benefits. A final vote is near in Kansas on a bill to extend the same autism insurance coverage under its 2010 law for state employees to more families.