It's time for Medical Insurance Companies in Oregon to cover Autism Treatment

Autism Health Insurance Reform: URGENT Action Alert – Call your legislators to support SB365 and HB2897 + Hearing Thursday 4/4/2013

Action Item Summary:

  • Update on SB365; Great News on HB2897 – last year’s autism bill just passed the House Health Care committee – unanimously
  • URGENT:  Call and write your legislators to ask them to support SB365 and HB2897
  • Please come to the Senate Health Care committee hearing on Thursday, April 4th at 3:00 PM to show your support for SB365, the Autism Health Insurance Reform bill

Update on SB365; Great News on HB2897 – last year’s autism bill just passed the House Health Care committee – unanimously

There are two significant Autism Health Insurance Reform bills in this year’s legislative session – and we wrote both of them.

Our primary focus has been on SB365, which we have been working on with Sen. Bates and a legislative workgroup in hopes of reaching a consensus with the Insurance Industry.  While we appear to be down to just a few sentences, we have not yet reached an agreement on language we can all accept.

However, while we’ve been working on that bill, a group of State Legislators – led by Rep. Peter Buckley and Sen. Chris Edwards – have reintroduced the very same bill we attempted to pass last year (2012’s SB1568), now called HB2897.

On Monday, the House Health Care committee voted UNANIMOUSLY to recommend passage of HB2897, and to move it forward into the Ways and Means (budget) process.  One committee member – Rep. Conger – specifically mentioned a visit from a constituent during our Autism Awareness Day event last month when he declared his support for the bill.  Another, Rep. Kennemer – a long time, dedicated supporter of Autism Health Insurance Reform – described how his grandson – who has been receiving ABA therapy for autism for the last few months – spoke his first words just last Sunday, and that they were “I love you mommy.”

Both bills mandate coverage of autism in private insurance plans and PEBB (the state employee’s benefit plan), and provide specific mandates for applied behavior analysis.  Both establish credentialing requirements for ABA providers.

SB365 is critically important because it extends autism coverage to the Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids (in addition to the commercial insurance plans that HB2897 covers).

We will have a hearing on SB365 on Thursday April 4th – see below – and it’s critical that we show our support.  So –

URGENT:  Call and write your legislators to ask them to support SB365 and HB2897

Please CALL and send E-MAIL to your state Senator and Representative AGAIN to ask them to support SB365 and HB2897.

Even if you’ve contacted them before, it’s important to call them again NOW to ask them to them to support these two bills – and to ask the Senate Health Care committee to pass SB365.

To find out who your Senator and Representative are, you can look them up on line at http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/ or write me an e-mail and I can help.

In your e-mail or telephone call:

  • Tell them who you are – name and address.
  • Why you are contacting them – because you, and your family are living with the complications of autism.
  • And tell them what action you want them to take – (use these words) “Please support and co-sponsor the Autism Health Insurance Reform bills – SB365 and HB2897.  Please ask the Senate Health Care committee to support SB365.”

I have included a sample e-mail message at bottom – but please personalize the message as much as possible, to show the impact that this issue has on you.

Senate Health Care Committee Hearing – Thursday, April 4th at 3:00 PM:

The Senate Health Care committee hearing for SB365 has been scheduled for Thursday, April 4th.

Date:  Thursday, April 4th

Time:  3:00 PM

Location:

  • Hearing Room A
  • Oregon State Capitol
  • 900 Court St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97301

This will be our first public hearing on this critical bill, which will ensure that all insurance plans in Oregon – including commercial insurance plans, as well as PEBB, OEBB, and the Oregon Health Plan – pay for medically necessary, evidence-based treatment for patients with autism, including applied behavior analysis (ABA).  No votes will be held, but we expect a formal committee vote to be scheduled soon.

We encourage you to attend the hearing in person if you can – it will be a great way to show your support, and to see the process in action.  You may submit written testimony (a simple, 1-page letter) – and may be able to make a short (1 to 3 minute) oral statement to the committee.

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to send an e-mail to the committee members in support of the bill.  You can use an e-mail like the one at bottom.  The committee member’s e-mail addresses are:

sen.lauriemonnesanderson@state.or.us; sen.jeffkruse@state.or.us; sen.timknopp@state.or.us; sen.chipshields@state.or.us; sen.elizabethsteinerhayward@state.or.us

—–

Thanks for your help!

 

Paul Terdal

 

Here is a sample message:

Here’s a short, simple e-mail message that you can use to get started.  Revise the third paragraph to describe how this affects you, your family, or your patients, and update the greeting and address.

To:

You can find your legislator’s e-mail at:  http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

Subject:

Please Support Autism Health Insurance Reform – SB365 and HB2897

Body:

Dear [Senator / Representative x],

I am a constituent in your district.

Please support SB365 and HB2897, the Autism Health Insurance Reform bills.  These bills would require health benefit plans – including private plans, as well as PEBB, OEBB, and (for SB365) the Oregon Health Plan – to pay for medically necessary, evidence-based treatment for patients with autism.  They would also provide credentials to providers of applied behavior analysis therapy – a leading form of treatment for autism – to ensure that patients receive quality, effective treatment from capable providers.

SB365 has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health Care committee on Thursday April 4th – please ask the committee to support the bill.  HB2897 has already received a unanimous vote of support from the House Health Care committee, and has been referred to Ways and Means.

Every year, 600 more children are diagnosed with autism in Oregon.  With effective, timely treatment, many of these children will be able to make substantial gains and need fewer services.  Providing these individuals with the right care at the right time will save the state money.

[*** If you wish, you can insert a brief personal story here.  Example:  I have a 20-year-old son with this diagnosis.  His treatment was not covered by our health insurance, and consequently he did not receive what might have helped him to overcome some of the most debilitating aspects of autism.  Now he needs costly support from state services, and probably will for life. ***]

Thank you,

 

Your Name

123 SW Main

Hometown, OR  97201

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