On May 16, 2017, Alabama became the 46th state to require meaningful coverage for the treatment of autism including applied behavioral analysis therapy, in certain health insurance plans. Thank you to the many self advocates, families, friends and co-workers who never gave up. Thank you to the legislators who supported this important legislation. There is more work to be done and ASA and Autism Speaks are committed to keep fighting until ALL affected by autism are covered. If you have questions, please email Bama Hager at [email protected].
The Alabama Riley Ward Autism Insurance Reform Act of 2012 went into effect in October. The legislation includes an offering by private insurers in Alabama to offer employers the opportunity to purchase coverage for employees’ family members’ ASD therapies including ABA therapy. The offering by private insurers includes coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis Behavior Therapy up to an annual maximum benefit cost of $36,000 per year for a child 9 years old and younger who has been diagnoses with ASD. The legislation coincides with a Blue Cross and Blue Shield decision to triple the amount of Speech and Occupational Therapies covered for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for families covered by underwritten or state regulated insurance policies. Blue Cross Blue will increase coverage of Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy (OT) to 100 covered combined sessions of Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy annually. The coverage will include 35 sessions of Speech Therapy, 35 sessions of Occupational Therapy and 30 sessions of Speech Therapy and/or OT. The bill does not affect BCBS coverage for children and adults older than 9 years old. Coverage for Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Behavioral Health Therapy for children older than 9 years remains the same as it was prior to this act. The ASD diagnosis is now recognized by BCBS as a covered medical condition.