Randy Krehbiel reports at The Tulsa World:
Autism treatment would be included in all new health benefit plans in the state under legislation approved Wednesday by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
A sometimes emotional discussion and debate ended with a 76-20 vote reflecting a marked change on the issue by the House’s Republican majority.
House Bill 2962, by Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, would require insurers to cover autism for children up to 9 years old, or for six years after diagnosis if the diagnosis is made after age 3.
The amount of coverage limit could be no less than $25,000 per year.
The law also would apply to children covered by Sooner Care, the state’s Medicaid program. Legislative staff estimated the cost of that portion of the bill at $22 million to the state.Tim Talley reports at AP:
“It’s been a long battle … to fight for those who can’t really fight for themselves up here,” said Rep. Mike Brown, a Democrat from Tahlequah who played a pivotal role in trying to pass autism coverage legislation in 2008.
Brown said research indicates that the early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can provide the basis for an appropriate educational and treatment program.
“There’s a window of opportunity that’s very narrow in these children’s lives,” Brown said. “It’s time to do the right thing.”