Sunday, February 28, 2010

History of the ASD insurance mandate bill

Representative Dwight Scharnhorst filed a very similar bill in the 2009 legislative session. HB 357 was meant to "Require health carriers issuing or renewing a health plan to provide individuals younger than 21 years of age insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder". HB 298 was a very similar bill filed last year by Rep. Jeff Grisamore and discussions about the issue often paired the two bills together. The 2009 session saw the number of bills filed on the topic near double digits. The spark in interest was due to a national movement that is taking place, backed by advocacy organizations such as Autism Speaks.
The crux of the issue was in the fact that Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), argued by many in the medical profession to be the best treatment for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, is specifically denied by most insurance providers. Many families of children with autism are facing the choice between bankruptcy or forgoing treatment for their child. Insurance companies argue that ABA is educational as opposed to medical treatment, even though it is prescribed by physicians. In addition, as with any proposed mandate, they are concerned with the increase in premiums that could occur.

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