Bill To Make Insurance Companies Pay For Autism Treatment Passes Senate

Thursday, April 14th 2016, 6:51 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

A bill that would require insurance companies to pay for treatment for children with autism has passed in the state senate and is one step closer to being law. 

“House bill 2962 would make Oklahoma the 44th state in the country to provide meaningful coverage for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders for our young people,” said Senator AJ Griffin, R-District 20, from the Senate floor.

The bill would require insurance companies to cover the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in children under 9 years old. It puts in place a $25,000 annual cap.

Tara Hood is one of the parents that celebrated in the gallery of the senate when the bill passed. She has two children: a 14-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter with autism. Hood says this is a huge victory for families impacted by autism.  

“They’re going to have access to medically necessary life changing therapy,” Hood said. “This is the difference in whether their children may be able to grow up and be contributing members of society.”

Parent Emily Scott agreed. 

“It’s so hard because the physician gives you a plan and you think you know what you have to do to get them serviced then you can’t go and get insurance to pay for it. So you’ve gotta pay out of pocket,” Scott said. “We have families that are going bankrupt and families that don’t have the means. That means their child is not getting the services.”

There were a few minor amendments made to the bill in the Senate, so it will have to be kicked back to the House of Representatives for approval. From there the governor is expected to sign it into law.