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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Insurance Developments in Utah, West Virginia, and New Hampshire

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
HB272 • A bill to fund treatment for approximately 750 young children with autism moved forward Friday after being approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee.
The bill has been refined to focus on children between the ages of 2 and 6 with up to 500 children on Medicaid, several hundred who are not on Medicaid (and may be privately insured) and several dozen who are on the Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program.
Elected officials are in negotiation with insurance companies about the possibility of contributing to funding. Rep. Ronda Rudd Menlove, R-Garland, the sponsor of HB272, has asked for $6 million in Medicaid dollars.
“Even at 750 we still would be missing some children,” she said, noting that Utah’s population of autistic children is more than 2,000.
AP reports:
Advocates of clarifying West Virginia's autism insurance coverage law are a step closer to success at the Legislature.
The House Finance Committee endorsed a measure Thursday aimed at fixing the 2011 law.
The House Judiciary Committee had advanced the bill last month. It heads to the full House of Delegates for a vote on passage.
Lawmakers agreed last year to require insurers to cover applied behavioral analysis. This treatment is considered critical for many children diagnosed within the autism spectrum of neurological disorders.The pending bill makes clear that yearly and monthly caps on insurance benefits apply only to applied behavioral analysis. Insurance companies argue the limits apply to all autism-related treatment. The bill also fixes technical errors that weren't caught when the 2011 law passed.

Susannah Poe adds at The Charleston Gazette:
Insurance lobbyists have come forward to claim that the change in the final legislation was not in error, that it was always the intent of the bill to include ALL autism treatment under a $30,000 cap. However, the fiscal note summary prepared by these same lobbyists last year states differently, reading "The original legislation has been amended to cover applied behavior analysis in an amount not to exceed $30,000 per individual for three consecutive years, then in an amount not to exceed $2,000 a month."
The Manchester Union-Leader reports:
Near tears, a Merrimack woman pleaded with Senate budget writers yesterday not to end state health insurance mandates that have helped her 4-year-old autistic son regain his functions.
"Please. Stand up for me and my children, and do not touch what little hope and security we have left," said Christine Mostrom, who has two autistic children. "Do not turn away from New Hampshire's mothers. I urge you to stand in the gap, as we do for our children."
Mostrom and many others testified against Senate Bill 150, which would allow out-of-state insurance companies to sell health insurance in New Hampshire.
The bill's prime sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said he shares the concern about maintaining state insurance mandates, but is also concerned about the limited competition in New Hampshire among insurance providers.
"We have among the highest insurance rates in the country," Bradley said. "We need to get more people into the system in order to lower rates."