Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Autism Insurance Bill Wins House Approval in Pennsylvania

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Autism Insurance Bill Wins House Approval in Pennsylvania

Article excerpt

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill on July 15 sponsored by Speaker Dennis O'Brien to end widespread discrimination by private health insurance companies by requiring them to provide coverage for autism-related services. "This bill will open the doors to medical care, accurate diagnosis, and intervention and support services for Pennsylvanians with autism," O'Brien said. "It will also strengthen the state's network of service providers and researchers, which is already world-class."

On July 13, the House adopted an amendment offered by O'Brien to address concerns that were raised by insurance companies. The House then defeated several amendments that O'Brien opposed which would have weakened parts of the bill. The measure (H.B. 1150) passed unanimously and now goes to the Senate for consideration. Among its strong advocates were the majority and minority chairmen of the House Insurance Committee, Reps. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, and Nick Micozzie, R-Delaware.

Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, also provided important legislative help when the bill was considered by the Insurance Committee.

"The human toll caused by the refusal of insurers to provide this coverage is immense. Families are under stress, their finances under attack, and without early diagnosis and intervention services the futures of thousands of young Pennsylvanians are slipping away... This is, quite simply, an issue of civil rights for thousands of Pennsylvanians," O'Brien said. …

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