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

Autism Health Insurance Reform: SB365 Unanimously approved by HOUSE – on to the Governor!

Contents:

  • Update on SB365 – SB365 Unanimously approved by House, too! – On to the Governor!
  • ACTION ALERT:  ask Governor Kitzhaber to sign SB365 – and enforce our existing rights!

Update on SB365 – SB365 Unanimously approved by House, too! – On to the Governor!

Well, that was fast.

This afternoon, the Oregon House of Representatives suspended the rules that normally require a waiting period on votes, and voted UNANIMOUSLY to support SB365, the Autism Health Insurance Reform bill!

In this entire legislative session, not one legislator has ever cast a vote against Autism Health Insurance Reform!

That is the power of all of our e-mails, phone calls, and meetings with legislators.  We spoke, they listened – and voted.

This morning, before the vote, the two top leaders of the House Republican caucus — Rep. Mike McLane, House Republican Leader, and Rep. Julie Parrish, Deputy House Republican Leader – signed on to SB365 as official co-sponsors.  Both are long-standing friends of our cause, and we appreciate their help in explaining the importance of Autism Health Insurance Reform to their caucus and smoothing the way for the fast, unanimous vote.

SB365 will now go the Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber for signature.

ACTION ALERT:  ask Governor Kitzhaber to sign SB365 – and enforce our existing rights!

Please contact Governor Kitzhaber to ask him to SB365 – and also to direct the Insurance Division to enforce our existing Autism insurance mandates.

While SB365 is a great step, the actual insurance mandate doesn’t take effect on commercial insurance plans until 2016 – two and a half years from now.  However, Oregon law (ORS743A.168) already requires insurance companies to cover “expenses arising from treatment” for autism “at the same level as, and subject to limitations no more restrictive than, those imposed on coverage or reimbursement of expenses arising from treatment for other medical conditions.”

Despite this, most insurers refuse to cover medically necessary, evidence-based treatment for autism – such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).  Providence even claims that it “permanently excludes” treatment for autism from its’ plans, despite these laws.  We need Governor Kitzhaber’s Insurance Division to start enforcing the laws we already have, right now.

ACTION #1:  Call Governor Kitzhaber

Please take 1 minute to call Governor Kitzhaber’s office to ask him to support SB365, Autism Health Insurance Reform.

Call the Governor’s Citizen’s Representative Office:  (503) 378-4582.

The phone will be answered by a staff member, or by voice mail.  Here’s a message you can tell them – but feel free to personalize this:

My name is ____________.

I’m calling to ask the Governor to sign SB365, the Autism Health Insurance Reform bill – which was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate.

Oregon law has required insurance companies to cover medically necessary treatment for autism since 2007 – but most refuse to pay for the nationally accepted standard of care.  Please direct the Insurance Division to enforce the law, and require insurance companies to pay for coverage of autism — today.

Thank you!

ACTION #2:  Send an E-mail to Governor Kitzhaber

Please also send an e-mail to the Governor, using his web page:  http://www.oregon.gov/gov/Pages/ShareYourOpinion.aspx

Step 1)  Enter your personal information

Step 2)  Choose “Health Care” in the “Topic” box

Step 3)  In the comment box, say something like this:

Please sign SB365, the Autism Health Insurance Reform bill, so that Oregonians with autism can get access through their health insurance to the treatments they need, with licensed and registered providers. The House and Senate have both voted UNANIMOUSLY to approve this landmark legislation.

Oregon law (ORS 743A.168) already requires insurance companies to cover “expenses arising from treatment” for autism “at the same level as, and subject to limitations no more restrictive than, those imposed on coverage or reimbursement of expenses arising from treatment for other medical conditions.” Unfortunately, most insurers refuse to pay for the nationally accepted standard of care.  Please direct the Insurance Division to enforce the law, and require insurance companies to pay for coverage of autism – now, under existing law.

Every year, 600 more children are diagnosed with autism in Oregon. With effective, early intervention many of these children will be able to make substantial gains and require fewer services as they get older. Providing these individuals with the right care at the right time will save the state money.

Please sign SB365 – and enforce the laws we already have. Thank you.

To make your message to the Governor even more effective, add a few words about your personal situation.

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Thanks for your help!

 

Paul Terdal

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