Raia-Sponsored Bill Expanding Coverage For Autism Passes Assembly

June 22, 2010

Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C-East Northport) recently had his sponsored legislation pass the Assembly expanding insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Assembly bill 10372A passed the lower chamber on June 21. New York State law currently mandates “guaranteed issue” for autism but leaves open a significant insurance gap resulting in limited treatment and therapy for certain patients. The federal Centers for Disease Control estimate that autism spectrum disorders affect 1 in 110 nationwide.

The measure cleared the state Senate on June 9 and is expected to be received by Governor Paterson by the end of the week. The commissioner of health, in consultation with the insurance superintendent and the commissioners of mental health and mental retardation and developmental disabilities, is charged with responsibility for promulgating regulations identifying treatment and therapy options. Until such time as such regulations are issued, coverage will be according to treatment guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The bill is expected to reduce out-of-pocket costs for health consumers and result in savings for New York State.

“The legislation I multi-sponsored clarifies our health insurance laws, expands coverage for autistic patients, and reduces the financial burden on families coping with high insurance premiums,” said Raia. “Autism spectrum disorders are on the rise. New York State’s laws must change to ease the hardships of an increasingly broadening group. My hope is that with Assembly bill 10372A autistic residents of the Empire State are provided the treatment they require in a caring environment they deserve.”