Legislature sends autism insurance bill to Governor Patrick

Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that on Thursday, the Massachusetts Legislature passed legislation that would require health insurers in Massachusetts to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders, which currently affects 1 in every 110 individuals.
“This bill will have a direct, positive effect on the lives of individuals and families living with autism, and after several years of supporting this insurance change, I am quite pleased to see it reach the Governor’s desk,” said Senator Joyce, a co-sponsor of the bill.
The bill dictates that insured coverage for an individual diagnosed with one of the Autism Spectrum Disorders and prescribed by a licensed physician or a licensed psychologist would include: habilitative or rehabilitative care, pharmacy care, psychological care, psychiatric care, and therapeutic care.
Twenty-two states have passed legislation that requires private health insurers to cover evidence-based treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Coverage does not affect educational services provided under an IFSP, IEP or ISP and insurers are not required to pay for in-school services.
The bill includes a provision that allows insurers to opt out of providing coverage for three years if its costs rise by more than 1 percent per year.
The bill now goes to Governor Patrick.