ST. PAUL (March 5, 2013) -- A third House committee has cleared the way for HF.181, the autism insurance reform bill, to be included in this year's House package of health and human services legislation. Meanwhile, a Senate companion measure, SF.314, has been introduced by Senate Majority Whip Chris Eaton (DFL-Brooklyn Center).
Sponsored by Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), HF.181 received a favorable hearing in the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee where it was "laid on the table" for inclusion in the Health and Human Services (HHS) omnibus bill that the House will begin crafting this month. The initial version of the Senate omnibus bill (SF.1034) already has been introduced.
Minnesota is one of only 18 states yet to enact autism insurance reform. A landmark 2001 court settlement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota expired in late 2011, stripping families of the state's only coverage starting last year.
The new bills would require state-regulated health plans to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Governor Mark Dayton has pledged to engage on autism insurance reform this year.