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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Governors Sign Insurance Bills in Rhode Island and Louisiana

Autism Speaks provides a couple of updates on insurance legislation in the states.

Rhode Island:
Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed a pair of bills enabling Rhode Island families to access insurance coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as intended under the autism insurance reform bill he signed last year, and adds pharmacy, psychology and psychiatric care as eligible benefits.
The 2010 law required that ABA be provided and supervised by a state-licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), despite the fact Rhode Island has no such licensing process. As a result, fanmilies have been unable to access coverage for ABA care.
The new bills signed by Chafee include SB.2559 which creates a five-member Applied Behavior Analyst Licensing Board within the state Department of Health so that practiioners can get licensed in Rhode Island. The second bill, SB.2560, adds pharmacy, psychology and psychiatric care as eligible benefits.
SB.2560 also enables licensed psychologists to provide ABA provided they have "equivalent experence" or the therapy falls within "their scope of practice." Both laws take effect immediately.
Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation today expanding Louisiana's 2008 autism insurance reform law by raising the age cap to 21 and eliminating the $144,000 cap on lifetime benefits. Families paying thousands of dollars a year in insurance premiums will be able strating in 2013 to continue coverage for the screening, diagnosis, testing and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for individuals aged 16 through 20.
Sponsored in the Louisiana House of Representatives by Rep. Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge), the bill eliminates any ceiling on lifetime benefits. Under the 2008 law, coverage ended once lifetime claims reach $144,000. In addition, the new law eliminates the current requirement that treatments be supervised by a physician or psychologist. A $36,000 annual cap on benefits is retained, but coverage was expanded to include firms with 10 employees or less. The current threshold exempted business with 50 employees or less.