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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Problems with Michigan Fund

The Politics of Autism includes an extensive discussion of insurance legislation in the states.

Emily Lawler writes at MLive that a Michigan law creating an insurance fund has an implementation problem: the fund is about to run out of money.
The 2012 legislation, signed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, mandated that insurance companies operating in Michigan provide coverage for autism diagnosis and treatment.
But it didn't apply to large employers who self-fund their health insurance, like GM or DTE Energy. To incentivize companies like those to provide autism coverage, the state established a fund which reimbursed insurers for paid claims relating to autism coverage.
DIFS [Department of Insurance and Financial Services].administers the fund, and Office of Financial and Administrative Services Director Penny Wright said in a presentation to the House Appropriations Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee on Tuesday that soon there won't be any money to reimburse companies with.
"By the end of November we are anticipating the fund to be depleted completely," Wright said.
That's a stark change from the fund's early history. It was initially appropriated $15 million, and in the first few months of operation only $3,000 was disbursed. But Wright said that changed as insurers became more educated about the fund and more claims worked their way through the process.
The legislature reacted by cutting funding in the next few budget cycles and sending portions of it to another autism-related cause: grants to universities training future health care professionals in autism treatment.