On June 15, 2007, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed legislation mandating improved insurance coverage for children with autism. This marks the second state insurance bill enacted this month, following the signing of similar legislation in South Carolina.
The bill, passed by the Texas legislature in May, mandates that insurance companies cover autism-related services for children between the ages of three and five. While the bill limits the ages for children who can benefit from this coverage, it is more specific than other state laws in spelling out which kinds of services -- from ABA therapy to nutritional supplements -- must be considered.
The Texas Association of Business had urged Gov. Perry to veto the bill due to the group's standing opposition to mandates on employers. But advocates said the measure requiring companies to cover treatment for children with autism would give families hope, save some from bankruptcy and reduce long-term costs for taxpayers.
It is estimated that Texas could save up to $771.5 million in special education costs alone within the first 10 years of the bill's enactment.
Along with Sen. Eddie Lucio, who has been advocating for the autism insurance bill for six years, the effort to pass the legislation was spearheaded by Cynthia Singleton and a group of many dedicated Texas parents.