Newly introduced Georgia Senate Bill 191 - “Ava’s Law” - has the potential to require health insurers to provide coverage for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
And that's exactly what Sen. John Albers (R –Roswell) hopes it will do.
"The passage of this bill is the right thing to do," said Albers, who introduced the bill on Georgia Disabilities Day at the State Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 21. "Unlike many of our neighboring states, Georgia does not have any laws on the books that require health insurers to provide coverage for children with Autism. As this population continues to grow, it is important we act now to provide funding for the early intervention and long-term care of children living with this disease."
According to the Autism Society of America, Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability and affects nearly 1.5 million Americans. In fact, one out of every 88 children is born with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Over the next 10 years, the treatment of Autism is expected to cost anywhere between $200 to $400 million dollars. However, research indicates that the cost of lifelong care can be reduced by two-thirds with early diagnosis and intervention, says a Senate press release.
According to the release, a study conducted on early behavioral intervention for children with Autism, the lifetime cost of treatment is estimated to be $3.2 million per child. With appropriate treatment and clinical intervention, the state is projected to save more than $1 million per child.
Currently, at least 32 states specifically require insurers to provide coverage for the treatment of Autism, making Georgia one of the only 18 states left to adopt measures that support insurance coverage for autism.
If SB 191 is signed into law, $50,000 per year will be required to cover behavioral treatment, which is currently denied by most health care providers. This amount will be adjusted annually for inflation by the Insurance Commissioner.
SB 191 has been assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee and is awaiting further review.