Insurers Reject Expanded Coverage For Autism

Amid growing concerns about rising health care costs, state lawmakers approved a plan that would require insurers to cover a range of services to help children with autism, The Boston Globe reports.

The plan, passed by the House and now headed to the Senate, "contains mandated coverage for services known as 'applied behavioral analysis,' which include training children with autism and related disorders in social, verbal, and motor skills," writes Kay Lazar.

But the proposal faces stiff opposition from businesses struggling to hold down costs, Lazar reports.

A broad coalition of business groups, insurers, and the Group Insurance Commission, which provides insurance to more than 300,000 state and municipal employees and their families, sent a letter to lawmakers yesterday opposing the bill.

It said there is “limited rigorous research’’ on the effectiveness of such autism services and said that the cost of the services, which are often provided at public schools through special education classes, would be shifted instead to the private market, falling heavily on small- and medium-size employers through their workers’ insurance premiums. Larger employers are not subject to state insurance mandates and would not be required to pay for these services.

This program aired on July 28, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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