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After NBC 4 New York's I-Team report in March revealing that health insurers were denying coverage to autistic children, New York lawmakers have approved a reform that would force insurance companies to pay up.
The bill, passed by both the New York state Senate and Assembly, demands insurers cover a key autism therapy called Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA.
Back in March, the I-Team revealed an administrative loophole that rendered Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s landmark autism insurance law much less generous than many parents expected. The rule allowed insurance firms to deny reimbursements if an ABA provider doesn’t hold a state license.
The problem is, New York state doesn’t offer a license specifically for behavior analysts.
After the I-Team report revealed the imbalance, State Sen. Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) proposed a law that would establish a new license, specifically for behavior analysts. With such a license in place, insurance companies would have no grounds to deny coverage for autistic kids.
After his reform bill passed on Monday, Fuschillo issued a statement denouncing the last minute administrative rule which limited the original legislation’s impact.
“New York’s autism insurance reform law was authored to prevent families from having to spend tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket on treatments and therapies for their loved ones with autism," Fuschillo said. "Unfortunately, regulations were implemented contrary to the law’s intent which prevent many families from receiving these benefits."