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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Insurance Developments in Kansas and Hawaii

Autism Speaks reports:
Autism Speaks endorsed legislation introduced in Kansas to expand autism insurance benefits provided since 2010 to state employees to cover more families.
The bill was introduced by Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee)  and would require coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), for certain private health plans affecting hundreds of Kansas families. The bill was introduced with 34 cosponsors.
"Autism Speaks joins the Kansas autism community in commending Representative Rubin for his leadership on behalf of our kids," said Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks' associate director of state government affairs, and a Kansas resident. "The pilot program for state employees was an overwhelming success and families across Kansas have waited too long for the same benefits to become available to them as well."
Rubin's bill would require autism coverage by fully funded large group plans and "grandfathered" small group and individual plans. The measure has been referred to the House Insurance Committee.
Autism Speaks also reports:
A 2014 Hawai'i autism insurance reform bill was voted out of two Senate committees yesterday with amendments sought by Autism Speaks to strengthen its provisions.
Sponsored by Senators Josh Green, Suzanne Chun Oakland and Russell Ruderman, the bill
SB.2054 was voted out of the Senate's Health, and Commerce and Consumer Protection committees. It would require state-regulated health plans to cover up to $50,000 a year for the screening, diagnosis and evidence-based treatment, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), of autism up to age 21.
Amendments sought by Autism Speaks to protect the state from potential cost-triggering requirements under the Affordable Care Act, allowing the use of supervised staff to provide ABA, and other changes were approved by the committees. A competing bill opposed by Autism Speaks, SB.2578, was held by the lawmakers, led by Sen. Rosalyn Baker [right], who chairs the Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee.

Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks' associate director of state government affairs, commended Hawai'i's autism community for providing strong testimony to the committee that helped improve the bill.
In addition to ABA treatment, the bill would require coverage for autism-related psychiatric, psychological, pharmaceutical and therapeutic care, such as speech, occupational and physical therapy.