Topeka Advocates for people with autism on Tuesday praised a new law that requires the health insurance plan for state employees to cover treatments, but said it is only a first step.
“This is not the end, but rather the start of getting autism treatment to all in need in the state of Kansas,” said Mike Wasmer, president of the Kansas Coalition for Autism Legislation.
Gov. Mark Parkinson signed into law House Bill 2160, which will require the state health insurance plan to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies, such as applied behavior analysis, for state employees.
“Our hope is that this pilot project will create a solid foundation from which to expand coverage in the next legislative session to the greater population of families that have been financially devastated by the lack of insurance coverage for necessary autism therapies,” said Peter Bell, who is executive vice president of programs and services for Autism Speaks.
The new law also includes an annual cap on treatments for children with autism spectrum disorder that are enrolled in the state employee health insurance plan of $36,000 up to age 7 and $27,000 between ages 7 and 19. Nearly 100,000 people are enrolled in the state employee health plan.
Kansas becomes the 18th state to enact autism insurance reform, but the first to limit it, according to Autism Speaks, which is the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization.
Parkinson said the new law represented “a great beginning for putting us on a path toward providing coverage for autism in all health insurance plans.”