State employees and individuals under the Affordable Care Act gained coverage for autism spectrum disorder through an executive order issued by Gov. John Kasich in 2012.
The governor’s action covered certain state-regulated plans but not all, leaving some people without coverage to pay for autism-related treatments, which can cause “thousands and thousands of dollars.”
To help [autism mom Doreena] Beebe and others like her, two state representatives are proposing a bill that would expand autism coverage in Ohio to include all state-regulated plans, incorporating large group plans and grandfathered plans in the individual and small group markets.
The bill also prohibits a health plan provider from terminating or from refusing to renew coverage solely because the individual is diagnosed with or has received treatment for an autism spectrum disorder. The bill only affects fully insured plans.
The bill would impact about 1,700 individuals with autism and their families if it becomes law, said Rep. Cheryl Grossman, R-Grove City.
“I believe it’s time for Ohio to step forward and make sure that we do this,” Grossman said. “If we can help make them successful in their lives and not dependent on the government to provide for them, I think it’s a small investment for them to be able to succeed.”
If the bill becomes law, about one-third of the state would have insurance coverage for autism, said Michael Wasmer, the associate director of state government affairs for Autism Speaks.
“It clearly is a fiscally responsible thing to do,” Wasmer said. “We are saving the state a tremendous amount of money that they would otherwise be paying for things like intensive special education and adult support.”