Autism Resources and Information

Autism Coverage Legislation HB 598 and SB 381 Information

For Immediate Release: Contact: Alex Kraemer

(614) 466‐9690

 October 25, 2012

 Grossman, Terhar, Seitz, Celeste and Garland Announce Autism Spectrum Disorder Coverage

 Columbus, Ohio—State Representative Cheryl Grossman (R‐Grove City), Senator William Seitz (R-Cincinnati), Representative Louis Terhar (R‐ Green Township), Representative Ted Celeste (D-Columbus), and Representative Nancy Garland (D‐ New Albany), along with Lori Unumb, Vice President, State Government Affairs for Autism Speaks and Marla Root, Co‐Chair Public Policy Committee for the Autism Society of Ohio, announced today the introduction of HB 598/SB 381 which calls for the inclusion of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) into insurance coverage provided under the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007.

 HB 598/SB 381 amends the existing statute to include ASDs in the definition of mental illnesses, thereby including it as a basic health care service to be covered by health insurers in Ohio. To date, all the other states in the Midwest and 32 states total have enacted legislation requiring insurance coverage for autism.

 “This bill incorporates both a great social need and an economically justifiable method to address the increasing rate of autism in Ohio’s children and the resulting financial hardships on families,” Rep. Lou Terhar stated.

 According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism now affects 1 in 88 children. However, Autism is treatable: 47% of treated children will assimilate into mainstream education without an aide by first grade (verses 2% without treatment). An additional 42% of treated children will achieve a higher level of functioning such that they require only low‐level intensity special education.

 By including ADSs in the mental health statute, coverage in Ohio isn’t required if it increases premiums on the small business by more than 1% annually. This legislation has also taken into account provisions that will prevent the state from being liable for the cost of benefits that exceed the essential health benefits specified in the ACA.

 Rep. Celeste said: “After 6 years of working on autism insurance legislation, I am pleased that we can bring a bill forward that brings us one step closer passage.”

 “Far too many insurance companies specifically exclude coverage for autism, and this is hurting working families across Ohio,” said Rep. Garland. “This legislation is an important step in relieving the financial and emotional burden lack of insurance causes for thousands of families impacted by autism.”

 Without treatment, the lifetime cost to care for a person with Autism has been estimated to be $3.2 million per child. Without care or coverage, this burden is shifted to the taxpayer. Much of this cost is a result of adult care and lost productivity, which can be avoided if early childhood treatment is received. The estimated lifetime cost savings of providing appropriate treatment exceeds $1 million per child.

 “The State Department of Educationreports state spending of over $250 million annually in special education costs for children with autistic disorders. Much of this spending would be avoidable if applied behavioral analysis treatmentwere made available to children before they reached school age, when it has the greatest chance of success. Much of this cost can be saved if a person is treated as a child,” Sen. Seitz said.

 Rep. Grossman commented: “It pulls at my heart‐strings. I'm a Mother before I'm anything else. A lot of parents are working two jobs to be able to pay for this type of intervention, and many are still going broke. This bill would support these families in their efforts to provide their children with the best possible future."