Governor Chafee on Thursday morning held a ceremonial signing of legislation that requires insurers to to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
He was joined by families of, and advocates for, people with autism, as well as Rep. Peter Palumbo, D-Cranston, and Sen. Edward O'Neill, D-Lincoln, the legislation's primary sponsors, for the State House event.
The legislation -- H5275 and S107 - is meant to help alleviate the financial strain faced by parents of children with autism, who often cannot afford early and intensive behavioral therapies that advocates say are effective in helping children learn to talk and better relate to other people and their environments.
For the most severely affected children, these treatments can cost $50,000 a year or more, families and advocates have said.
The new state law requires health insurers to cover up to $32,000 a year in autism diagnosis and treatment for children, up until their 15th birthdays. Among the treatments required to be covered are behavioral therapies.
Rhode Island became the 27th state to mandate coverage for autism when Chafee officially signed it into law at the end of June.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
A Ceremony in Rhode Island
The Providence Journal reports on a ceremony surrounding an insurance mandate: