Beginning on November 1st, 2012, New York State will begin mandating that health insurers provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (also known as ASDs). The Governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed the bill on November 1st, helping the families of autistic children to save tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. This is great news for the 30,000 autistic children in New York and their families.
However, there is a drawback to this new bill. The state Health Plan Association speculates that premiums for businesses and families may increase so much that they may be priced out of coverage all together. For that reason, the association wants to reduce the coverage and costs before the law takes effect next year.
In response, Governor Cuomo said that there would be a $45,000 cap on the coverage that insurance companies would have to fund, and supporters believe that premiums will only increase by $1 a month for all New Yorkers.
Paul Macielak, president and CEO of the New York Health Plan Association, believes otherwise. He estimates that it could cost families hundreds and businesses thousands. However, the advocacy group “Autism Speaks” said that they believe the bill could ultimately save taxpayers $13 million over a six year time period due to the reduction of Medicaid costs and the money needed to fund early intervention and special education programs for autistic children.
What is your reaction to the new bill? Post your comment and let us know what you think.