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Friday, May 17, 2013

Insurance Mandate Action in CA & NC

In California, Laura Shumaker writes at The San Francisco Chronicle:
With California’s landmark autism insurance coverage law set to sunset in 2014, the California State Senate today approved a bill by California Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D – Sacramento) to extend the law’s provisions until 2019. Senate Bill 126 renews Senate Bill 946 of 2011, requiring health insurance companies to provide coverage of behavioral health treatment for autism spectrum disorders as a medical benefit. SB126 passed with bipartisan support with 36 Senators voting in favor of the bill, and none opposed. The bill now heads to the California State Assembly.
A bill requiring employee-based insurance plans to cover treatment and therapy for patients with autism disorders passed the state House Wednesday night.
“We’ve been working for about five years to try to get coverage for children with autism,” said Selene Johnson, executive director of ABC of N.C. Child Development in Winston-Salem.
With therapy, the non-profit school helps children with communication and social skills in addition to dealing with some of the behaviors that often accompany autism.
“We rely on grants and private donations to help families but that can only go so far,” Johnson said.
The bill, if passed by the Senate and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, would require insurance plans to cover children and adults up to age 23 and provide up to $36,000 in annual coverage