RICHMOND—Parents of autistic children must wait until next year to see if Virginia will require health insurers to cover treatment for their youngsters.
During the legislative session that ended last month, the General Assembly considered three bills requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder.
As in past years, all of the bills failed.
One of those bills was the comprehensive House Bill 34, sponsored by Del. Bob Marshall (R-south-central Loudoun). It would have required insurers to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in individuals under age 21.
Marshall’s bill never made it out of the House Commerce and Labor Committee.
The more limited Senate Bill 464, sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston), got further.
SB 464 would have required insurance companies to cover autism treatment for children only from age 2 to 6, with an annual maximum benefit of $35,000.
The Senate voted 27-13 for Howell’s bill. However, it was tabled in the House Commerce and Labor Committee and died there when the General Assembly adjourned March 14.
Alli Atayee is a student with Capital News Service.
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