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Sunday, February 14, 2016

An Argument for the Insurance Mandate

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

At The Journal Record (Oklahoma City), Bob Medley makes the case for an insurance mandate:
Oklahomans who pay their premiums every month have a chance to join the millions of families nationwide who have autism coverage. House Bill 2962 will change lives in every neighborhood of our state.
Providing coverage also makes sound, economic sense. If children with autism can access medically proven treatments, the core symptoms are much better controlled and the long-term cost of care will decrease.
The human benefits that come with autism treatment cannot be overstated, but the economic benefits seal the case. That’s why I’m among the growing group of Oklahoma residents urging state lawmakers to make that change, as every state that borders Oklahoma has done.
If Oklahoma insurers provided meaningful autism coverage, state taxpayers would save millions in lifetime costs for the current population of kids with autism. All for the investment of about 40 to 50 cents per member per month, which is what actual claims data reflects in multiple plans across the country that have been covering autism for several years.
A bipartisan group of legislators has come together to provide an Oklahoma-specific solution this legislative session. HB 2962 would simply require state-regulated plans to cover evidence-based treatments like speech, occupational, physical and behavior therapy when prescribed by a licensed physician and determined to be medically necessary.
This treatment is provided at a different level of intensity than special education services provided in school by our hardworking teachers. There the goal is to accommodate students, helping them to access the curriculum. Research shows that these taxpayer-funded services can be eliminated or dramatically reduced when children receive the medically necessary treatment provided in HB 2962.