Autism insurance bill

Oklahoma is one of only seven states that doesn’t require insurance companies to cover treatment for children with autism. House Bill 2962 was approved with bipartisan support 36 to 5.

Sen. AJ Griffin and Rep. Jason Nelson are the principal authors of HB 2962, which would require coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in individuals younger than 9 years old. If the child isn’t diagnosed or doesn’t receive treatment until after three years of age, they would be eligible for at least six years of benefits as long as he or she shows sufficient progress and improvement. Under the legislation, children would have access to applied behavior analysis for up to 25 hours a week, with a cap of $25,000 a year. The bill includes what Griffin called a cost safety valve which would terminate the mandate if premiums increased by more than 1 percent.

“One in 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. If it isn’t something your family is dealing with, chances are you know someone whose family is” said Griffin, R-Guthrie. “The good news is the right kind of treatment can make a dramatic difference in helping these children become independent, productive individuals.”