A group of lawmakers from both chambers ironed out a compromise Thursday that would require certain insurance plans to cover applied behavioral analysis therapy, which is not currently required of insurers in South Dakota but is in 38 other states.
Both the Senate and House passed the compromise version of the bill Thursday, sending it to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, whose administration supports it.
The bill requires coverage of ABA therapy only by providers who have a master’s or doctoral degree, which parents of autistic children say lessens its impact by limiting their options. But the legislation also establishes a workgroup of parents, lawmakers and insurers who will begin meeting this summer to figure out how to expand required coverage in the future.
Parents say the majority of the hands-on ABA therapy provided to children is from specialists who have high school degrees or higher, but not often master’s or doctoral degrees. They say limiting coverage doesn’t cover the majority of care given to children on a day-to-day basis. But insurers, who supported the version of the bill passed Thursday, had been worried about being required to provide coverage for workers who are not licensed to give care by the state.
The workgroup aims to establish a proposal for licensing and covering care providers not included in the bill passed Thursday.
Lobbyists for insurance companies applauded the compromise.No kidding. The bill is straight out of the Monty Python Insurance Sketch:
Vicar: But my car was hit by a lorry while standing in the garage and you refuse to pay my claim.
Devious: Oh well, Reverend Morrison, in your policy... in your policy... here we are. It states quite clearly that no claim you make will be paid.
Vicar: Oh dear.
Devious: You see, you unfortunately plumped for our 'Neverpay' policy, which, you know, if you never claim is very worthwhile, but you had to claim, and, well, there it is.