New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch has signed a law requiring insurers to cover more treatment programs for autistic children.
The new law requires covering behavioral, speech and occupational therapy along with already covered medications, health-related services and psychiatric services when they are part of a plan ordered by a doctor.
The Autism Society of New Hampshire is pleased to report that autism insurance reform was signed into law by Gov. John Lynch on July 23, 2010, making New Hampshire the 22nd state to pass autism insurance reform.
HB 569-FN (“Connor’s Law) was passed by the New Hampshire Senate on May 5, 2010, after successfully moving through the New Hampshire House on January 6, 2010.
The Autism Society applauds the hard work and dedication of Sen. Margaret "Maggie" Wood Hassan, Rep. Suzanne Butcher, Rep. Susi Nord, Administrative Director of the NH Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders Kirsten Murphy, ASNH President Michelle Jarvis, and countless others in the Granite State that were instrumental in getting “Connor’s Law” passed.
HB 569 is not a new mandate, but rather, the legislation clarifies what “treatment” means under NH’s existing mental health parity law as it is applies to autism spectrum disorders. Treatments that will be covered include habilitative or rehabilitative care, pharmacy care, psychiatric care, psychological care and therapeutic care. It requires insurance companies to cover treatment when prescribed or ordered by a medical professional following the guidelines adopted by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other professional groups. Just like any illness, treatment will be subject to periodic review for medical necessity. There is a maximum benefit of $36,000 for children younger than 1 year old to age 12 and a maximum benefit of $27,000 from age 13-21. Furthermore, HB 569 does not replace existing services. While special education programs may use some of the same types of therapies to help a child learn, this is not done at the same level of intensity or with the same goals as a treatment program. HB 569 states clearly that it should not be interpreted as reducing the obligation that schools have to deliver a free and appropriate education.