Helmut Schmidt at The West Fargo Pioneer:
All insurance companies doing business in North Dakota will soon be required to provide coverage for autism spectrum disorders, the state insurance commissioner announced Wednesday, July 11.
A bulletin was issued Wednesday to insurers telling them that treatments for autism can’t be excluded from their policies, Commissioner Jon Godfread said in a news conference at the North Dakota Autism Center.
Coverage must be in place by Oct. 1 for policies “grandfathered in” under the Affordable Care Act, Godfread said. Coverage for policies purchased on the open market must be available by Jan. 1.
“Today’s a great day!” Godfread said, adding that insurance carriers “are being very cooperative.”North Dakota is the 48th state to require insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders, said Lorri Unumb, vice president for state government affairs for the national group, Autism Speaks. Only Wyoming and Tennessee don’t require such coverage, she said.From Autism Speaks:
The insurance bulletin also carries national precedence in clarifying that state-regulated insurance companies should be covering autism treatments under existing federal mental health parity law. Autism Speaks Vice President of State Government Affairs, Lorri Unumb, praised Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread, noting that "laws are in place to prohibit the kinds of exclusions autism families routinely face; Commissioner Godfread had the guts to issue a bulletin and insist on compliance with the existing law."KFGO-AM reports:
In addition, Godfread notified insurance carriers in the Bulletin that they will no longer be allowed to exclude Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to treat children with autism on the basis that ABA therapy is experimental or investigative treatment.
“Working with our partners at the federal level and with health insurers operating in North Dakota, we can now say that ABA therapies are no longer experimental or investigational and are widely recognized as a leading treatment for children with autism. Therefore, North Dakota families should have access to ABA therapies through their insurance plan” Godfread said.
All grandfathered and transitional health insurance policies regulated by the Department, including the individual, small group, and large group insured markets, must follow the guidance set forth by the Bulletin beginning no later than Oct. 1, 2018. All non-grandfathered health insurance policies and self-funded Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement health benefit plans regulated by the Department must follow the guidance of the Bulletin beginning no later than Jan. 1, 2019.
For more information or to read the Bulletin in its entirety, visit www.nd.gov/ndins/.
BUT NOTE MY PREVIOUS POST ON THE LIMITS OF STATE INSURANCE MANDATES