The change of the calendar year marks another pivotal step forward in the effort to pass meaningful autism insurance reform nationwide, as several state autism insurance laws go into effect on January 1, 2011.
The states that will begin requiring certain state-regulated health insurance plans to cover the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder effective January 1, 2011 include:
Some state autism insurance reform laws actually became effective earlier in 2010, but because the majority of health plans operate on a calendar year basis, the true impact of these laws will occur when the new plan years turn over on January 1, 2011. These states include:
In addition, Vermont’s autism insurance reform legislation will become effective July 1, 2011.
If you live in one of the newly effective states or work for a company that is headquartered in one of them, you could potentially benefit from the legislation. You can find details and helpful links related to the specifics of your state’s autism insurance law by visiting Autism Votes’ State Initiatives page and then clicking your state on the provided interactive map. This information will continue to be updated as it becomes available in the various states.
In addition, it is important to check with your employer’s human resources department to determine whether your health plan is subject to state law. Some employers chose to self-insure, and are thus not subject to state law, but rather ERISA, a federal law. If this is the case, please visit the Autism Votes resource page for self-insured plans. Many self-insured companies are choosing to voluntarily comply with state autism insurance laws once they are made aware of them.
With twenty-three states now requiring health insurance to cover autism treatment, the momentum of this national trend is undeniable. It is our hope at Autism Speaks that the remaining states pass meaningful autism insurance reform as quickly as possible, and that the states with laws on the books properly implement and enforce them so that families dealing with the challenges of autism at long last have the coverage they need.
NBC Nightly News featured Autism Speaks and new insurance policy laws being passed in 2011.