The 2011 Legislative Session Is Here!

We have two bills this year filed for autism insurance reform.

SB 1061 – Coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorder; relating to the state employee health benefit plan. This bill only covers state employees.

SB 1062 – Relating to health insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorder. This bill excludes state employees.

There are reasons for this approach:

  1. Several legislators last year were concerned that our bill excluded state employees.
  2. If state employees are included, then the bill has a fiscal impact for the state budget and we have been told, nothing will pass that costs the state money.
  3. SB 1062 does not have a fiscal impact for the state and if the legislators want to ensure coverage for state employees, then we have a bill that will do that and they can support SB 1061 without endangering SB 1062 by giving it a state budget impact.

You may be concerned because our bill is very limited:

  • $35,000 for Ages 2-6
  • Include employers with more than 50 employees

We are picking up where we left off last session. We ended up here in the last session after our bill was amended down many times. This bill passed the Senate last year and we believe we can do that again this year. That leaves the House of Delegates to convince and then the Governor.

We have some added value items in our bill. This year it defines what Medically Necessary treatment is for autism. This language came from the Secretary of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services report and it is very helpful to us. We also used the term “behavioral health treatment” rather than “habilitative or rehabilitative care”. This aligns with federal legislation terminology.

This bill is a good first step for us to establish the true costs of autism treatment to the insurance industry.

Texas passed similar legislation in 2007 through age 6 and then expanded it in 2009.

Please call one of the VAP Board members below to ask questions or just vent. We want to hear from you. Give us an opportunity to explain what our plan is for passage.

Pat DiBari 703.999.9686

Teresa Champion 703.517.9504

Lavada Robertson 540.915.7800

Talking points, tips, and more:

Who’s my legislator?

How to contact your legislator for a visit

Talking Points for 2011 Autism Insurance Reform (PDF)

Tips on how to prepare for talking to your Legislator (PDF)

“Insurance Coverage for Autism in Virginia” by Lori Unumb, Autism Speaks (PDF)

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