Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I – Greenwood Lake) voted in support of landmark legislation that would require health insurance companies to cover the cost of screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. With passage of the bill in both houses, it now will be sent to the governor to be signed into law.
“Autism is a disorder that we are barely beginning to understand, but has affected the lives of so many. It is vital that families have the support of their health insurance in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders as the one aspect of these disorders that everyone agrees on is that early diagnosis is key,” said the assemblywoman.
The passage of Assembly Bill 10372-A is an important victory for those with autism spectrum disorders, their families and loved ones, who have been the main lobbying force behind creation, introduction and eventual passage of this landmark legislation. Having worked with many families from the Hudson Valley living with autism, the assemblywoman was particularly touched by the overwhelming support the bill received in the Assembly Chamber.
Assemblywoman Rabbitt commented, “Just in the last few years, researchers and medical professionals have discovered so much more about the spectrum of autism disorders. I have met so many parents who are struggling not only to understand what their child is going through, but how to pay for the behavioral therapies that are so vital for their child’s health and socialization. I am very proud that this important bill has been passed in both houses and I urge the governor to sign it into law immediately.”
Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control report that 1 out of every 110 children in the United States is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Greater understanding of the disorder through education and coping therapies has brought increased awareness, as well as encouraged more parents to have their children diagnosed. However, many insurance companies do not cover the cost of diagnosis and treatment, despite current state law, which prohibits exclusion of both diagnosis and treatment, because there is so much unknown about autism and the spectrum of disorders is so vast. This legislation clarifies both the spectrum of disorders and treatment options to ensure more individuals are covered.
The bill will go into effect immediately once it is signed into law by the governor.