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Calls to Action

Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will go into operation in 2014 with public enrollment scheduled to start in October 2013. Enacted in 2010, the ACA could have profound impacts on insurance coverage for autism benefits. The ACA provides individual and small group (fewer than 50 employees) coverage through state-level health benefit exchanges.

Since 2007, Autism Speaks has succeeded at the state level with grassroots partners in enacting autism insurance reform laws in a majority of states --33-- with the goal of ending marketplace discrimination on the basis of an autism diagnosis. Passage of these laws, which cover state-regulated health plans, is a critical first step. True autism insurance reform will demand a federal response requiring all types of health plans to cover autism treatments, including the new ACA health plans and self-insured (ERISA) health plans.

Autism Speaks is monitoring the state-by-state implementation of the new ACA health benefit exchanges for their coverage of autism benefits, including behavioral health treatment. Autism Speaks will continue the fight to assure that behavioral health treatments are part of all health insurance plans.


The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The health reform law has affected millions of Americans, including the autism community, and introduced new provisions that affected...
WASHINGTON, DC (March 25, 2013) -- The District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority has recommended that coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) be required in the new health...
WASHINGTON, DC (February 26, 2013) -- Autism Speaks Co-founder Bob Wright has called on the nation's governors to do their part for across-the-board coverage for behavioral health...
BETHESDA, MD (February 1, 2013) -- The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) has pledged to take a more assertive role in federal autism policy, starting with the issue of assuring ABA...
WASHINGTON, DC (January 8, 2013) -- Just half the states have thus far planned to include ABA coverage in their new health care exchanges which open for business next year, an initial analysis...
PHILADELPHIA (June 30, 2012) -- Janet Weiner, MPH, associate director for health policy at the University of Pennsylvania's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, assesses how the states...
NEW YORK (June 28, 2012) -- Autism Speaks issued the following statement today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision upholding the constitutionality of the 2010 Affordable Care Act:...
May 29, 2012 Dear friends, Almost two months have passed since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the shocking results of its latest prevalence study—1 in 88...
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) pressed U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to insure that the states include behavioral health treatments for autism as...
WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today proposed policies that would give states more flexibility in implementing the Affordable Care Act starting in 2014. Read the...

Federal Health Care Reform Helpful Links

Federal Health Care Reform Bill History

March 30, 2011: President Obama signs the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act into law (P.L. 111-152)

March 25, 2010: Senate passes HR.4872 

March 23, 2010: President Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law
(P.L. 111-148)

March 21, 2010: The House concurs with Senate amendments to the PPACA and passes the companion HR.4872 containing autism insurance reform as part of the essential benefits package

March 17, 2010: Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HR.4872) introduced in the House

December 24, 2009: Senate passes PPACA with provisions for autism insurance reform 

November 7, 2009: HR.3200 voted out of the House

October 13, 2009:   “America's Healthy Future Act Of 2009” voted out of Senate Finance Committee

October 8, 2009: PPACA is voted out of the House

September 25, 2009:  Senate Finance Committee approves autism insurance reform amendment offered by Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) to “America's Healthy Future Act Of 2009”

September 17, 2009: The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (HR.3590) is introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

July 31, 2009: House Energy and Commerce Committee approves Doyle amendment to HR.3200

July 16, 2009: Congressman Mike Doyle (PA) introduces amendment to HR.3200 in the House Energy and Commerce Committee to include autism insurance reform 

July 14, 2009: "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009"  (HR.3200) introduced in the House

July 8, 2009: Autism Speaks launches TV ad calling on Congress to include autism insurance reform as part of overall health care reform

November 2008: As a candidate for President, then-Senator Barack Obama pledges he "will mandate insurance coverage of autism treatment and will also continue to work with parents, physicians, providers, researchers, and schools to create opportunities and effective solutions for people with ASD."