WEEKEND EDITION

New Law Requires New York Insurers to Cover Autism

| November 2, 2011 4:00 AM video

Autism affects one in every 110 children. The emotional toll on families can be devastating, but New York State has stepped in to help ease the financial burden.

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law new requirements that compel insurers to cover the costs of treatments for autistic children and adults. New York is the 29th state to enact such a legislation.

“It was a great piece of work. It will make a difference in children’s lives and families’ lives,” Cuomo said at the bill signing ceremony.

Annual medical expenses for families with an autistic child are four to six times higher than the average, according to recent reports from the Center for Disease Control.

According to a press release from Autism Speaks, an advocacy group, the new law will save New York taxpayers $13 million over six years by detecting autism at a younger age. Treating children earlier means avoiding more severe developmental disabilities that would require state services later in life.

“Hopefully we’re creating a foundation so that these kids get the skills that they need to not be in a group home 15 years from now,” said Aaron Hilger, who attended the bill signing ceremony with his 7-year-old autistic son Alex.

The law takes effect on Nov. 1, 2012 and allows up to $45,000 per year in treatments for autism.

WATCH VIDEO:

Legislation signed into law on Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will ensure that health insurance companies provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism. Video courtesy of  The Capitol Report.

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