Virginia Senate Passes Insurance Coverage for Autistic Children

~ Will provide needed services during critical developmental period ~


RICHMOND—The Democratic-led Senate of Virginia today passed legislation requiring health insurance companies in Virginia to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autistic children between two and six years of age. Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) sponsored SB464 which will require insurers to cover early intervention treatments that can lead to improved outcomes for children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

“This is a small step but important step for children with autism spectrum disorder,” said Senator Howell. “These families and these children are desperate for services that we don’t provide them. These kids truly need our help and this limited bill will give them some needed assistance.”

            Research shows that 50% of autistic children who get intensive developmental therapy between age two and six return to normal function, with an additional 40% of diagnosed children experiencing an improvement in function. This insurance mandate was crafted to provide needed coverage for children with autism while minimizing the impact on insurance premiums.

            The bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 27-13. It will now go before the House of Delegates for consideration.

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