HONOLULU (January 30, 2013) -- Hawaii's new autism insurance reform bill, SB-668, cleared the Health, and Commerce and Consumer Protection committees today which met in joint session. The bill was passed by unanimous votes by each committee and moves next to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Sponsored by Senators Josh Green (D-Kohala/Kona) and Russell Ruderman (D-Puna, Ka'u), the bill would include up to $50,000 a year in coverage for behavioral health treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In addition, the bill would require coverage for autism-related psychiatric, psychological, pharmaceutical and therapeutic care.
Benefits would apply though age 25.
Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks associate director for state government affairs, testified in support of the bill. The state Director of Health, Loretta Fuddy, said the department "appreciates the intent" of the bill. Written testimony in support of the bill was submitted by more than two dozen parents and providers, as well as the following organizations:
- State Council on Developmental Disabilities
- Hawaii Medical Association
- Hawaii Autism Foundation
- Hawaii Special Education Advisory Council
- Hawaii Disability Rights Center
- Community Children's Council of Hawaii
- Family Voices of Hawaii
- Community Alliance for Mental Health