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Kentucky Gov. Beshear Signs Autism Health Insurance Legislation

  • Synopsis: Published: 2010-04-14 (Revised/Updated 2010-05-08) - Kentucky Gov. Beshear signs expanded autism health insurance coverage legislation - mandatory coverage by group insurers as well as state employee benefit plan - Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office.

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Gov. Beshear signs expanded autism health insurance coverage legislation - Makes mandatory coverage by group insurers as well as state employee benefit plan.

Gov. Steve Beshear today signed legislation that will increase the amount of coverage health insurers must provide for autism spectrum disorders to insured individuals in large and small group plans, as well as the state employee health benefit plan.

HB 159, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Greer, of Meade, provides coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders for individuals between the ages of 1 and 21, including coverage in the annual amount of $50,000 for individuals who are 1-6 years of age, and coverage in the annual amount of $12,000 for individuals who are between the ages of 7 and 21.

The new law also requires that individual and small group market health benefit plans provide coverage for autism spectrum disorders in the amount of $1,000 per month for pharmacy care, psychiatric care, psychological care, therapeutic care, applied behavior analysis and rehabilitative care for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

"Supporting the health care needs of Kentucky's children has been one of my top priorities as Governor and autism is a disorder that is increasingly impacting many Kentucky families," said Gov. Beshear. "The Autism Society of America estimates that autism and its associated behaviors have been estimated to occur in as many as one in 500 individuals. In signing this much needed legislation, I am happy to say that this administration and this General Assembly are helping these families cope with this developmental disability by removing some of the treatment cost barriers that have kept these young people from getting the care they need.

"I am so proud to have sponsored this landmark legislation that will finally allow affordable health care for children and adults with autism," Rep. Greer said. "For too long, families have struggled financially trying to obtain the medical therapies autistic patients need. House Bill 159 was the product of consensus, bipartisanship and common sense and I am glad that it is now law in Kentucky."

The legislation also creates the Kentucky Applied Behavior Analysis Licensure Board for a practitioner of applied behavior analysis, a therapy proven effective in treating autism spectrum disorders.

The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2011.

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