Senator Kelly Helps Advance Bill Protecting Health Insurance Coverage for Autism Patients

May 15, 2013

Hartford – State Senator Kevin C. Kelly (R-21) applauded the bipartisan and unanimous passage of legislation that would protect health insurance coverage for autism patients in Connecticut.

“While our state is a national leader in diagnosing, treating and caring for autism patients, we cannot risk the loss of insurance coverage for Connecticut families simply because of a change in a prominent medical guide,” said Senator Kelly. “This bill recognizes the shifting medical definition of autism spectrum disorders while also protecting the essential insurance coverage that helps provide treatment to current autism patients. I am encouraged by the unanimous support of this important legislation.”

Senate Bill 1029, An Act Concerning Health Insurance Coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorders would extend health insurance coverage to autism patients despite an upcoming change in the American Psychiatric Association’s fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This guide provides diagnosis criteria to medical professionals and insurance companies.

Currently, state law requires insurance coverage to provide specified services to treat patients with autism spectrum disorders as it is described in the fourth edition of the DSM. The fifth edition will go into effect alter this year, and its redefinition of autism spectrum disorders could have resulted in families losing the necessary insurance coverage.

As Ranking Senator of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, Senator Kelly helped improve the legislation by supporting an amendment on the floor of the State Senate that would protect autism patients who may not be included in the upcoming definition. The measure now awaits further action by the State House of Representatives.