Mass. Is A Leader In Coverage For Autism

Insurers in this state are now required to cover a broad range of care and treatment for children with autism, The Association Press reports, making Massachusetts one of the most generous states in the nation for such coverage.

But business groups remain opposed to the law, saying the costs are simply too high. The AP reports:

The legislation, passed during the closing days of the Legislature’s formal session last week, mandates insurers cover the cost of diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder if it is deemed medically necessary by a doctor.

Those treatments include rehabilitative, psychiatric and therapeutic care, diagnostic tests, applied behavioral analysis as well as the cost of pharmaceuticals. Insurers would not be required to pay for in-school services.

The law also lets insurers opt out of providing coverage for three years if their costs rise by more than one percent a year.

Business groups say the costs of providing the extra coverage will fall largely on employers already struggling to cope with rising health premiums.

They said the law could increase the cost of health care coverage by as much as $340 million over the first five years, and that the average monthly increase in premiums could be as high as $2.45 per member.

This program aired on August 4, 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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