Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bipartisan Autism Insurance Reform Bill Heads to Full House

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bipartisan measure authored by more than 30 House Republicans and Democrats that would require health insurers to cover autism treatment for children cleared a House committee today.

House Bill 2962, by state Rep. Jason Nelson, would require a health benefit plan offered in Oklahoma to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of an autism spectrum disorder in children. The bill would limit the yearly maximum benefit to $25,000, but would place no limits on number of visits.

“I am pleased that many families are one step closer to receiving the same benefits from their health insurance policies that parents of children who suffer from very similar disorders currently receive,” said Rep. Nelson, R-Oklahoma City “I’m grateful that we were granted a hearing in committee and that the many supporters of this important bill have the opportunity to continue working for its passage this year. We certainly recognize the sincere concern held by many members of the Insurance Committee regarding the potential cost. We have pledged to work with insurance companies, families, physicians and therapists to find ways to address the concerns about cost and still provide a meaningful benefit to children.”

The Legislature last considered an autism insurance reform bill in 2008. Nelson said since then 43 states have implemented some form of reform to health plans to provide treatment for autism disorders.

“Seven or eight years ago, we were one of only a handful of states that were considering this issue, and there simply wasn’t enough claims data available for the Legislature to accurately gauge how much the reform would cost,” said Nelson. “Now there are only a handful of states that have not enacted some form of autism insurance reform, and there is plenty of information available to help us determine what the cost impact would be if we were to move forward.”   

House Bill 2962 passed out of the House Insurance Committee by a vote of 6-4 and now heads to the full House for consideration.

Authors of HB2962:

Rep. Jason Nelson - R
Sen. A.J. Griffin - R
Rep. Lee Denney - R
Rep. Chris Kannady - R
Rep. Jason Dunnington - D
Rep. Katie Henke - R
Rep. John Montgomery - R
Rep. Mike Brown - D
Rep. Jeannie McDaniel - D
Rep. Steve Kouplen - D
Rep. Ben Sherrer - D
Rep. Ed Cannaday - D
Rep. Dennis Casey - R
Rep. Bobby Cleveland - R
Rep. Donnie Condit - D
Rep. Marian Cooksey - R
Rep. Claudia Griffith - D
Rep. Elise Hall - R
Rep. Scott Inman - D
Rep. Dan Kirby - R
Rep. James Lockhart - D
Rep. Mark McBride - R
Rep. Casey Murdock - R
Rep. Pat Ownbey - R
Rep. David Perryman - D
Rep. Dustin Roberts - R
Rep. Wade Rousselot - D
Rep. Mike Shelton - D
Rep. Shane Stone - D
Rep. Steve Vaughn - R
Rep. Emily Virgin - D
Rep. Kevin Wallace - R
Sen. Randy Bass - D
Sen. Larry Boggs - R
Sen. Roger Thompson - R

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