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Push For Autism Insurance Mandate Shifts Into High Gear

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An advertising campaign launched Wednesday by Autism Speaks urges Congress to include autism insurance coverage in its health care reform efforts.

Currently 14 states mandate insurance coverage for autism treatment, according to Autism Speaks. Efforts to pass similar legislation in several other states have failed amid concerns from insurance providers about increased costs. There is no federal legislation governing autism coverage.

Often at issue is applied behavioral analysis (ABA), a behavior therapy approach which can cost $50,000 per year or more.

Now, the organization is pressuring Congress to include a nationwide mandate within the health care reform bill that’s currently being crafted.

A television ad titled “Neighbors” will air on CNN, CNBC and MSNBC. It features two boys with autism, one who receives treatment paid for by insurance and one who does not. The boy whose autism treatment is covered is shown playing with other children while the boy without insurance coverage is isolated. A voice-over tells viewers to call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to ask them to support autism insurance coverage legislation.

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