Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Kansas Advocates Say State to Consider Autism Insurance Bill

Kansas lawmakers are getting ready to consider a bill that would require health insurance plans to cover diagnosis and treatment for autism spectrum disorders, including services like applied behavior analysis to cover citizens of the state until age 21. The proposal also calls for an exclusion for small businesses who would not have to offer such services through their health plans.

The proposal, referred to as "Kate's Law," follows the establishment of the Kansas Autism Task Force, a panel of citizens set up by the state in 2007 to look into the needs of people with autism.

The Kansas Coalition for Autism Legislation has lots of information about the proposal on its website and its special Kate's Law web page.

The bill itself has not been introduced officially in the legislature, but the outlines of it are slated to include the following, according to the Kansas Coalition for Autism Legislation:

• Health insurance policies must provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders
• “Treatment” includes any therapy prescribed by the attending physician and includes applied behavior analysis, speech therapy and occupational therapy
• Coverage for applied behavior analysis shall be subject to a maximum benefit of $75,000 per year through age 21
• Small businesses, i.e. employers with 50 or fewer employees, may “opt out” of these provisions
• Health insurance companies cannot deny coverage on an individual solely because the individual is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder

The Kansas advocates for this bill, who are gearing up for a public education and awareness campaign, have posted a couple of YouTube videos explaining the medical, social and financial implications for a family that received an autism diagnosis. The first video is below, or if you reading this via e-mail subscription, you can find the 7-minute clip here.

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