Thursday, June 23, 2011

Autsim Therapy Coverage Nears OK

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Her voice breaking, Joanne Quinn said she hopes no Rhode Island family ever again experiences what she did:

Twelve years ago, when her 4-year-old son, Patrick, was newly diagnosed with autism and barely able to talk, Quinn’s health insurer refused her request for the intensive treatment he needed. The insurer would cover only six weeks of speech therapy, Quinn recalled.

On Wednesday, Quinn, now director of the Autism Project, joined others at a State House news conference marking House and Senate passage of companion bills to require health insurers to cover up to $32,000 a year in autism diagnosis and treatment, including behavioral therapies that have proven effective in improving a child’s quality of life.

The bills, identical compromise versions that involved extensive negotiations with health insurers, would cover children until their 15th birthdays.

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