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

May 29, 2013

Hartford, CT – State Senator Jason Welch (R-Bristol) supported the bipartisan, unanimous passage of legislation that would protect health insurance coverage for autism patients in Connecticut.

“Our state is a national leader in diagnosing, treating and caring for autism patients. But we cannot risk the loss of insurance coverage for Connecticut families simply because of a change in a prominent medical guide,” said Senator Welch.

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 later this year, and its redefining of autism spectrum disorders could have resulted in families losing the necessary insurance coverage they rely on.

The measure passed the state House and currently awaits the signature of the governor. The 2013 general assembly session ends on June 5th.

Senator Jason Welch is a member of the Public Health Committee of the General Assembly and represents Connecticut’s 31st Senatorial District, which includes Bristol, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth and Thomaston.