Thursday, October 10, 2013

Insurance Coverage for Autism Extended in CA

This just in from Dr. Vismara. Great to see everyone's efforts paying off in California!  Best, Donna

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dear Colleagues.. please see the following press release..Although there is still important work ahead,  this is an important step in the right direction. Many thanks to all who contributed to this crucial effort.  Cheers. Lou


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2013
Contact: Mark Hedlund, (916) 651-4006

Insurance Coverage for Autism Extended
                                                                                             
(Sacramento) – A program that has already helped more than 12,500 Californians receive insurance coverage for early autism treatment has now been extended an additional two-and-a-half years. Senate Bill 126, authored by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and passed unanimously by both the Assembly and the Senate, was signed into law today by Governor Jerry Brown.

SB 126 extends provisions of the California Autism Insurance Mandate requiring private health care insurance plans to provide coverage for “behavioral health treatment” of children with autism and pervasive developmental disorders. The program was originally established in 2011 under SB 946 (Steinberg), but the mandate was set to expire in July of next year. This law now extends the provisions until January 1, 2017.

“Earlier this year, I stood on the Capitol steps and called for an extension to help tens of thousands more receive autism behavioral health treatments. Today, that hope for more effective therapy is a reality for those who desperately need it,” said Steinberg. “I’m proud that California is leading the nation on ensuring treatments for those with autism.”

The bill also allows for the evaluation of recommendations by the Department of Managed Health Care Autism Taskforce, a process for licensure for providers and paraprofessionals of behavioral health treatments, coordination with the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), and assessment of future ACA guidelines.

Autism is the nation’s most rapidly growing serious developmental disability, as the number of those living with autism in the United States is 300 percent higher than it was in 2005. Nearly one in every 50 children in U.S. children exhibits signs of autism spectrum disorders. Research shows that early behavioral intervention therapies improve brain functions, promote higher cognitive functions and reduce self-injurious behaviors for a significant number of individuals with ASD.

Since the autism insurance mandate initially went into effect on July 1, 2012, the California Department of Insurance estimates annual taxpayer savings of up to $200 million in intervention costs from regional centers and special education programs.

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