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Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Case for Ohio Mandate Legislation

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

At The Columbus Dispatch, Mark Swepston makes the case for insurance mandate legislation in Ohio:
HB 350 also applies to individual health-insurance plans that are grandfathered (in existence since March 2010); nongrandfathered individual plans already include autism coverage, thanks to executive action by Gov. John Kasich in 2012. Also thanks to Kasich, Ohio state employees already have autism benefits. So, in essence, this bill would level the playing field among all types of state-regulated plans in Ohio.
Some Ohioans have health plans not regulated by the state. Self-funded plans, typically offered by very large corporations, are regulated by the federal government and have control over the design of their benefits packages. Notably, numerous self-funded companies voluntarily include ABA coverage in their plans. These include AT&T, American Express, Bank of America, American Airlines, Walmart, Ernst & Young, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., Starbucks, Volvo, Boeing, Wells Fargo, the federal government (civilian and military), Harvard University, Novartis, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Goldman Sachs, General Electric, General Motors and White Castle.
Thus, at present in Ohio, state employees have autism/ABA benefits. People with new individual plans have autism/ABA benefits. People who work for many large corporations, such as those listed above, have autism/ABA benefits. Even children on Medicaid have autism/ABA benefits. The Average Joe in Ohio does not have autism/ABA benefits. Average Joe’s child with autism is simply going without the treatment prescribed by his doctor, unless Average Joe happens to be independently wealthy. HB 350 would fix this.
Autism Speaks reports:
 On Wednesday, the Ohio House Committee on Government Affairs and Oversight passed HB 350 by a vote of 8-4.  The bill now moves to the House floor where it will be considered after the November elections.    

“I am pleased we have passed this important step with House Bill 350.   It is obvious that more and more people realize the necessity of providing this coverage for Ohio families.  I am truly grateful for the tremendous efforts by so many as we work to make Ohio the 45th state to enact autism insurance reform,” said bill sponsor, Representative Cheryl Grossman.

44 other states, including all states bordering Ohio, have enacted legislation similar to HB 350. Claims data demonstrate the average cost of required coverage is less than 50 cents per member per month.  The impact on health insurance premiums has been negligible and there has been no negative impact on small businesses.  

“This victory would not have been possible without an outpouring of support by grassroots advocates and community leaders” said Mike Wasmer, director of state government affairs at Autism Speaks.