Members of the powerful Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday unanimously backed a bill that could help 5,000 Virginia children receive health insurance coverage for autism treatments.
Del. Thomas A. “Tag” Greason, R-Loudoun, sponsored House Bill 1940. The measure would require health insurers, health care subscription plans and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders in children ages 2 to 10.
The bill passed the House this month on a 63-35 vote. Virginia is one of 38 states that require health insurance plans to cover autism treatment.
After the committee vote, Greason told supporters of the bill that he expects it to quickly receive Senate approval. Because of the amendment, the bill must be approved again by the House of Delegates. Greason said he did not anticipate any problems getting that approval before the Assembly session ends this weekend.
Four years ago the delegate sponsored a bill that led to the current law which mandates coverage for children age 2 to 6.
Autism Speaks, an advocacy group for children with autism and their families, said the extension in coverage is needed because the average age for diagnosis in Virginia is 6 to 7.