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News Release From the Office Wisconsin's Office of the Commissioner of Insurance: Governor Doyle Announces Implementation of Autism Coverage

October 19, 2009

(October 19, 2009) Madison, WI—Governor Jim Doyle today announced an emergency rule implementing new provisions in state law requiring insurance coverage of autism spectrum disorders.
"We have worked long and hard for this day, and I am thrilled that children across the state living with autism will now have access to the care and support they need and deserve," Governor Doyle said. "We are also helping take the squeeze off the hardworking families that support these children."
"Starting November 1, 2009, insurance companies are required to cover treatment for autism spectrum disorders," stated Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg. "I appreciate the work done by OCI's Autism Treatment Working Group to assist in developing the emergency rule implementing the statute." The diverse working group was composed of parents, providers, insurers, patient advocates, and representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
The new law requires OCI to, by rule, define terms for intensive level services, nonintensive level services, qualified, and paraprofessionals. It also addressed education, both professional and specific training with individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, necessary to be considered qualified to provide treatment. The full text of OCI's emergency rule can be found at OCI's Web site at oci.wi.gov/rules/0336em09.pdf.
The emergency rule is not applicable to employers who operate self-funded health plans. The state can only require autism coverage for a health insurance policy issued by an insurer. The emergency rule will remain in effect for one year. OCI is working on a permanent rule to replace the emergency rule.