Friday, June 24, 2011

Autism Insurance Reform Bill Sent to Governor

ALBANY, N.Y. - State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R, Merrick) and Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle (D, Rochester) today announced an agreement between the Legislature and the Governor’s office in support of legislation to enable individuals with autism spectrum disorders to receive insurance coverage for screening, diagnosis and treatment. The bill (S.4005-B) would save tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses spent by families caring for individuals with autism and address insurance companies’ refusal to cover costs for autism treatments and therapies.

Autism Spectrum Disorders affect individuals of all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 110 children, including 1 in 70 boys, are currently affected with autism.

The legislation, which has been approved by the Senate and the Assembly and will shortly be sent to the Governor’s office for his signature, requires insurance companies to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, including behavioral health treatments, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Insurance companies would be prohibited from terminating coverage or refusing to renew, adjust, amend, issue, or execute a policy solely because the individual has been diagnosed with or received treatment for autism spectrum disorders.

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