Law Requires New York Health Insurers to Cover Autism
In November 2011, Anderson Center for Autism was honored to witness Governor Andrew Cuomo signing into law new requirements that compel health insurance companies to provide coverage for the treatment of individuals with autism. New York is the 29th state to enact such a legislation which requires insurers to cover diagnosis and treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This law went into effect on November 2012 and opens the door for families to obtain services that have been previously deemed medically unnecessary.
Additional Informative Links
- Governor's Announcement about Autism Insurance Law
- NYS Autism Insurance Legislation
- Radio Interviews
Questions and Answers About Autism Insurance in New York State
The autism legislation in New York State is very good news for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families. It provides for increased access to treatments that offer the greatest opportunity for positive life outcomes such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and other evidence-based therapies.
What is Autism Insurance Coverage?
The legislation went into effect in New York State on November 1, 2012. This law requires that NYS regulated health insurance plans cover "medically necessary" services for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V-TR).
Who can obtain services?
Children or adults of any age diagnosed with ASD, including Asperger's Disorder, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Dis-integrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (PPD-NOS), who have a medical need for services.
What services are covered by the law?
According to the legislation, insured health plans must now cover evidence-based, medically necessary autism services that are prescribed, provided, or ordered by a licensed physician or licensed psychologist. These services include:
- Applied Behavioral Analysis
- Behavioral Health
- Diagnostic Services
- Therapeutic Care
- Assisted Communicative Devices
What is ABA?
Evidenced based intervention focused on skills acquisition and reduction in challenging behaviors.
What are ABA services? Are they effective?
ABA services focus on positive reinforcement, teaching in small steps, prompting, and repeated practice. These services can be provided across a variety of settings. ABA has been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health and has been identified by the Surgeon General of the United States as the most effective way to treat ASD. According to the National Autism Center's National Standards Report (2009), data collected through hundreds of studies indicate that ABA is a highly effective method to teach children and adolescents with ASD.
How do I access services?
Services must be prescribed by a licensed physician or psychologist. Contact your health care professional or insurance provider for more information.
Anderson Center Clinic is currently providing the following services:
- Screening and Diagnosis
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
Services are currently being offered starting at 18 months of age at Anderson Center's main campus located in Staatsburg, NY.
How do I know if my insurance will cover ABA services?
You should contact your Human Resources department to ask what, if any, autism-related services are covered. You may want to refer your HR representative to our website at http://www.andersoncenterforautism.org/advocacy/ or have them call us directly at the above number and we will assist you.
Which insurers are not impacted by this legislation?
Companies with self-funded insurance plans are not required to provide this coverage. You may however ask your company to provide this coverage.
Are there limitations on services covered by this new legislation?
The law requires New York State regulated health insurance plans to cover the diagnosis and treatment of ASD in exactly the same way they cover the diagnosis and treatment of physical conditions. This includes any annual or lifetime limitations imposed on dollars spent or visits covered. The law also makes it clear that there are no age restrictions for individuals in need of services. However, coverage for ABA shall be subject to a maximum benefit of $45,000 per year per covered individual.
If my child is covered by Medicaid, am I entitled to ABA services under this legislation?
ABA services are not covered by Medicaid; however, if your child has additional insurance, they may be entitled to coverage.