Without fanfare, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill to amend the state insurance code to require some health plans to cover autism-related services for children older than 2 and younger than 6 years old. The Houston Chronicle cited Perry's signing the bill (House Bill, or H.B. 1919) in a story posted June 16 which summarized a number of the governor's legislative actions. (See story here.) The governor's website confirms Perry signed the bill, which includes other issues related to health insurance for individuals with brain injuries. Perry's office has not yet posted a statement about why he signed the bill, in spite of a powerful business lobby's opposition. (Read more background here.)
You can read text of the bill, H.B. 1919, via the Texas Legislature website, by clicking here. The new law takes effect September 1, 2007 and spells out what kinds of autism-related services must be covered, including evaluation and assessment services; applied behavior analysis; behavior training and behavior management; speech therapy; occupational therapy; physical therapy; and medications and nutritional supplements "used to address symptoms of autism spectrum disorder."
With the passage of new insurance laws in Texas and South Carolina, I've updated a map of what state legislation around the United States says about autism-related services. See the map below on this blog, here or here.