NJ Autism bill puts pressure on health insurers

    By: Phil Gregory

    New Jersey has one of the nation’s highest reported rates of autism. Now it may become the eleventh state to require the health insurance providers to cover treatment of the neurological disorder.

    By: Phil Gregory

    New Jersey has one of the nation’s highest reported rates of autism. Now it may become the eleventh state to require the health insurance providers to cover treatment of the neurological disorder.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090518pgautism.mp3]

    The bill would require health insurers in New Jersey to provide coverage of up to $36,000 a year for treatments of a person with autism who is 21 years old or younger.

    Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts is one of the bill’s sponsors. He says some parents have exhausted their savings paying for treatment so their autistic children can lead normal lives.

    Roberts: Parents who have literally bankrupted themselves trying to do the right things for their children, Government needs to be there to give them a helping hand to give them a lifeline to really be there to support them and I think it’s long overdue that we address this.

    Roberts says providing behavioral therapy at an early age can allow children with autism to be in a mainstream classroom, reducing special education costs.

    Committees in both the Assembly and Senate have approved the measure.

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