Thursday, May 31, 2007

Texas Lawmakers Pass Bill To Cover Some Children's Autism Services

The Texas Legislature has approved a bill to amend the state insurance code to require some health plans to provide coverage for autism-related services. The bill, passed May 27 by the Senate and May 29 by the House, was submitted to Gov. Rick Perry's desk on May 30. Its mandate to cover services applies to children between the ages of 2 and 6.

You can read text of the bill, H.B. 1919, via the Texas Legislature website, by clicking here. The bill's text specifically cites what kinds of autism-related services must be considered, and includes a wide range from ABA to nutritional supplements. A relevant passage of the bill states:

The health benefit plan must provide coverage ... to the enrollee for all generally recognized services prescribed in relation to autism spectrum disorder by the enrollee's primary care physician. ... Generally recognized services may include services such as:
1. evaluation and assessment services
2. applied behavior analysis
3. behavior training and behavior management
4. speech therapy
5. occupational therapy
6. physical therapy, or
7. medications or nutritional supplements used to address symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

While the Texas bill limits the ages for children who can benefit from this coverage, it goes farther than some other states in terms of spelling out exactly what kinds of services are covered. It will be interesting to see what the governor does.

Also see:

* South Carolina Lawmakers Poised to Pass Autism Insurance Bill

* An updated, annotated map for Autism Bulletin readers of states that have passed or are considering bills that would provide some coverage for autism services. Click here if you see this via e-mail, or view the map below.

2 comments:

ASD Mom said...

Finally a state that explicitly requires insurance coverage for ABA services! Hooray!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that so many seem to be optimistic about such a bill...I honestly believe most of it is a disgrace and a slap in the face to children with autism. This bill is nothing more than the governments way to save money, while making it seem like they care about children with autism...

Here is a letter a wrote...

Although I applaud you for taking the time to introduce this bill, I cannot quite understand where this truly benefits the children. In your website it also states it will benefit adults diagnosed with autism. How will this be if it is inteded ONLY for children 3-5? Is it that children who are not diagnosed early are not worthy of the same treatment? Can you please explain to me why "cancer" or "diabetes" coverage for insurance companies is not limited to the first 20 years of a person's life? Honestly, who cares if a 60 year old dies of cancer...they're old anyway...isn't that correct? They do not deserve the same treatment as a 10 year old, since the 10 year old has a healthier body and therefore, a better chance of recuperating...

I know this sounds harsh, and again, I am thankful that at least the state of Texas feels that "some children" are worthy of being covered by insurance...it's just too bad that the state can finally admit this is not a a psychological disease, yet at the same time decide who is "worthy of receiving treatment".

If I have misunderstood you or the governor of Texas, I welcome your position...as it stands, I'm not sure I agree with the bill.

In the press release from Rick Perry, he basically discussed how much Texas would save in tax dollars...which means, he's ok with passing this bill and putting the financial burden on the insurance companies, so that he can save some tax dollars...not so that he can take care of children in the state of Texas.

Maybe someday the state of Texas will say that some people are worthy of diabetes treatment, but others are not, especially the way some cultures eat less than healthy food...it is a shameful day when people applaud such legislature.

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