West Coast States Begin 2011 with Insurance Legislation

Every parent of a child with autism knows the financial and emotional burdens of
the disorder, the long waiting lists for services, the exorbitant costs of
services, all the while the clock ticks on vital early intervention. 
Historically, lack of insurance coverage for autism has left many in dire

Fortunately, progress is being made on
the insurance front.  In news from
Oregon, an
article from ¨The Huffington Post" states

This January, Oregon entered the fray as
the first state of 2011 to introduce autism insurance reform legislation with
both a House and Senate version of the bill.

The article posts a link to AutismVotes.org
which presents a map of the country detailing the status of legislation in each
state — a fascinating overview of the national movement to get all 50 states on board. 
It’s encouraging to discover that more progress has been made than one
might imagine.  Twenty-three states
at this time have enacted autism health care reform with only Oklahoma, Utah,
and Wyoming having done nothing whatsoever.

On January 21st of this year, California
was the next west coast state to introduce legislation to make sure autism
treatment is covered by insurance.  This
bill takes on the insurance companies as well, mandating that loopholes be
closed so that insurers cannot impose arduous waiting periods for payments. 
It also prohibits them from shifting costs to public agencies, avoiding
taxpayer burden and concomitant wrath.

But even when states have enacted autism
reform laws, it doesn’t mean the problems are over. 
AutismVotes.org is also confronting inequities in
states where insurance plans aren’t required to cover autism services if
they are ¨self-funded."  Assuring
there is across-the-board parity is another ambition of the group.

out what’s happening in your state
and see how far we’ve come and how far
there is still to go.

Oregon and California have set good
examples for the beginning of 2011. The questions remains of how many more
states will follow?