Thursday, February 26, 2009

Maryland American Academy of Pediatrics: Yes on Insurance Coverage for Autism

On Wednesday, the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics expressed it support for HB 273, the legislation that would mandate insurance coverage for autism diagnosis and treatment -- and the bill that I am testifying about Thursday. Here is the complete statement:

"The Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MDAAP) is a statewide association that represents more than 1,100 pediatricians and allied practitioners in the State and is a strong advocate promoting the health and safety of the children they serve. MDAAP supports House Bill 273.

"House Bill 273 requires carriers to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Furthermore, the legislation includes provisions which ensure not only are the services covered but that they can be provided in a manner that is not designed to limit access or otherwise undermine the benefit of the coverage. For instance, the legislation specifies that a carrier may not require an updated care plan more frequently than six months and must bear the cost for any update that is required. A more frequent update would require concurrence by the treating provider.

"Autism spectrum disorders are complicated and challenging disorders to manage and treat. The care needs for individuals diagnosed with these disorders are highly individualized and require a variety of interventions. However, the care and treatment required is no less critical to the health and well being of the individual than any other challenging health condition or disorder. MDAAP strongly supports the passage of legislation that ensures that care and coverage for autism spectrum disorders is not arbitrarily excluded from the care now required to be included in insurance coverage. MDAAP urges a favorable report."

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