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Friday, February 10, 2017

Insurance Developments in Georgia and North Dakota

The Politics of Autism includes an extensive discussion of insurance.

A week ago, Kristina Torres reported at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Legislation to raise the mandatory age cap for autism insurance coverage from 6 to 21 years of age has won the backing of Senate leadership, led by Senate Health and Human Services Chairwoman Renee Unterman, R-Buford.

Senate Bill 118 will be introduced next week but still faces an uphill battle at the Capitol, where insurance and business advocates have long opposed expanding mandates they say can be costly. Unterman, however, said she is ready to battle, noting that Gov. Nathan Deal over the past few years has also backed broader coverage.
Giovanna Drpic reports at WFXG-TV:
Research for Autism Speaks shows that the average increase in premiums nationwide is 32 cents per member, per month. The Georgia Association of Health Plans says, "Our hearts go out to those impacted by autism. The debate will be about how much this new average will increase premiums, but there is no debate that it will increase premiums for Georgia's small businesses."
"If you are getting treatment, that child will be in special ed from 3-21, and then they will go on to disability, SSI and all sorts of benefits," [autism mom Melissa] Solares said.
In North Dakota, Joe Skurzewski reports at KFYR-TV:
Supporters of a house bill aimed at expanding insurance coverage for therapy for children with autism struck a minor victory Tuesday.
House Bill 1434 went through the House Human Services Committee with a ‘yes’ pass, with amendments.
The bill would mandate insurance coverage for a type of therapy known as ‘Applied Behavior Analysis,’ that helps children with autism learn how to perform daily functions.
Supporters of the bill are meeting Wednesday to discuss the amendments and the next step for the bill.
North Dakota is one of only five states in the country that does not carry the mandated insurance.