Autism insurance bill stalls in Alabama Senate

Alabama Senate

Families of autistic children faced a set-back Monday when a bill that would require health insurance providers cover an expensive autism therapy stalled in the Alabama Senate.

The bill, which passed the state House unanimously two weeks ago, is held up in the Senate Budget Committee where Chairman, Daphne-Republican Sen. Trip Pittman says there are concerns over the costs to the state.

Alabama is one of only five states with no requirement that insurance companies cover the costly therapy, called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). According to the bill’s language, children with autism who are 9 years old and younger would be insured for up to $40,000 in treatment per year. That coverage would decrease to $10,000 per year by age 19.

The bill faces heavy opposition from the insurance industry, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, as well as the Business Council of Alabama.

Nevertheless, the bill’s sponsor Auburn-Republican Sen. Tom Whatley took to social media on Saturday where he posted a video discussing the importance of the bill calling it “much-needed” and “the solution our state needs” for families with children along the autism spectrum.

Pittman says it will be at least another week before SB406 has a public hearing.

Watch Whatley’s Facebook video about the bill below: