Insurers will be required to pay for a broad range of services for children with autism in Massachusetts under a bill signed into law today by Gov. Deval Patrick.
The measure, which goes into effect on January 1, mandates coverage for early and intensive interventions, including services known as “applied behavioral analysis,’’ which trains children with autism and related disorders in social, verbal, and motor skills.
"I am proud that Massachusetts now has one of the most comprehensive autism coverage laws in the nation," Patrick said in a statement released by his office "This bill offers needed relief for individuals and families struggling to pay for the services they need."
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, had opposed the bill because, they said, it would increase health costs.
A financial analysis of the bill in March by the state’s Division of Health Care Finance and Policy estimated the mandated coverage would boost annual spending for each insured person by between $14.64 and $29.40.
But supporters say the measure would probably add just 83 cents a month, or about $10 annually to each person’s insurance costs, based on a similar law passed in Minnesota in 2001.
The full text of the bill is available here.
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|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
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