The Senate recently took a first step in providing health insurance coverage for some children with autism spectrum disorders. These disorders include autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder and pervasive developmental disorder.
When children with these conditions receive treatment and services, they can show tremendous improvements.
Senate File 2349 requires plans offered to State of Iowa employees to include benefits of up to $36,000 annually for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders for children under 21 years of age.
I was honored to work on this legislation over the past two years and to lead the floor debate on the bill in the Senate. I think it is a good first step.
The original legislation would have required all Iowa-regulated health insurance plans covering businesses with 50 or more employees to offer autism coverage, but there was not enough support to pass that initiative.
Advocates hope that putting this small piece in place will demonstrate that health insurance coverage does, in fact, significantly help autistic children at a reasonable cost—and ultimately strengthen the argument that this benefit should be extended to all Iowa children.
The bill passed the Senate 42-8 and is now in the House Commerce Committee awaiting further action.
Upcoming public forum-3/6/2010 at 9 a.m.: Grinnell Legislative Forum. at City Hall Chamber, 927 4th Avenue.
This is a legislative update from Senator Tom Rielly, representing Iowa, Poweshiek, and Keokuk counties, and portions of Mahaska and Tama counties.
To contact Senator Rielly during the week, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. On weekends he can be reached at home at 641-673-0359. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Senator Rielly is chair of the Transportation Committee. He also serves on the Agriculture, Commerce, Economic Growth, Environment & Energy Independence, and Local Government committees.