Magazine article State Legislatures

Helping with Autism

Magazine article State Legislatures

Helping with Autism

Article excerpt

At least 10 states specifically require insurers to provide coverage for the treatment of autism (Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas). Of those 10 states, seven states (Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Louisiana) require health insurers to cover behavior therapy for autism.

Such therapy can cost as much as $50,000 a year per child. Insurance representatives argue that these state requirements drive up costs. But supporters say therapy works (although studies show mixed results) and can save money in the long run by keeping people out of institutions.

In addition, some states may require limited coverage for autism under their mental health parity or coverage laws. However, these laws vary considerably in how they define mental illness.

AUTISM PREVALENCE, PUBLIC SCHOOLS STATE RANKINGS,
2006-2007 SCHOOL YEAR

MINNESOTA                  1 OR 81 CHILDREN
MAINE                      1 OF 87
OREGON                     1 OF 88
NEW JERSEY                 1 OF 115
INDIANA                    1 OF 116
CONNECTICUT                1 OF 123
RHODE ISLAND               1 OF 129
PENNSYLVANIA               1 OF 133
MASSACHUSETTS              1 OF 135
WISCONSIN                  1 OF 140
MARYLAND                   1 OF 142
NEVADA                     1 OF 144
MICHIGAN                   1 OF 150
CALIFORNIA                 1 OF 154
VIRGINIA                   1 OF 156
VERMONT                    1 OF 159
NEW HAMPSHIRE              1 OF 160
WASHINGTON                 1 OF 162
NORTH CAROLINA             1 OF 164
MISSOURI                   1 OF 164
GEORGIA                    1 OF 165
NEW YORK                   1 OF 169
OHIO                       1 OF 171
IDAHO                      1 OF 171
U. … 
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