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Monday, March 4, 2019

Insurance Lobbyists Block Reform in South Carolina

The Politics of Autism includes an extensive discussion of insurance.

Emily Wright at The State (SC):
In South Carolina, Ryan’s Law requires that large group health insurance plans and the State Health Plan cover autism therapy, but with many restrictions. It was enacted 12 years ago, and we now know that those restrictions are inappropriate. The data proves the therapy’s efficacy, and the costs are reasonable when distributed across policyholders. This law is working — for those fortunate to be covered by it.
My daughter has an individual health insurance plan, but this therapy is excluded in that kind of plan.

Why? I pay premiums too. Why doesn’t she have access to the same coverage?
I am also a small business owner. I could purchase small group health insurance, but S.C.’s law also allows the therapy to be excluded in those plans.
Autism advocates are in their fifth year of attempting to expand Ryan’s Law to include the individual and small group markets. Bill S.135 passed the Senate in 2015 but was blocked in a House committee. Bill H.3790 passed the House in 2017 but was blocked in a Senate committee. Now bill S.363 has been filed by Sen. Tom Davis. All three bills have essentially the same language.
Why has the same language passed both the House and Senate but still not become law? The powerful, big money insurance industry stopped it.
An alternate proposal was introduced by the insurance industry last year. The entire autism community opposes the proposal, but it managed to be fast-tracked through the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. Fortunately, autism advocates stopped the bill on the Senate floor. But the same bill has been pre-filed this session (S.74).