JACKSON- Governor Phil Bryant signed an autism insurance bill making Mississippi the 40th state to require autism-related coverage statewide after the legislature voted overwhelmingly to support reform. The measure, House Bill HB 885 was sponsored by Rep. Steve Massengill (R-Hickory Flat).
The legislation signed by the governor requires coverage of autism-related services, including applied behavioral analysis (ABA), for children ages two to eight with the possibility for additional coverage if deemed medically necessary by a doctor.
“This new law is a major step forward for autism families in Mississippi,” said Lorri Unumb, Esq., Vice President, State Government Affairs for Autism Speaks. “We express our gratitude to the bill sponsors and Secretary Hosemann, who worked tirelessly to reform the insurance laws of the state to benefit children with autism. We look forward to assisting Mississippi families, providers, and insurers as they implement HB885.”
This reform 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.