Gov. Brown extends insurance coverage for autism treatment

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown has approved a 2 1/2-year extension of a program that requires insurance coverage for early autism treatment.

Since its creation in 2011, the program has helped more than 12,500 Californians, according to Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), the author of the bills creating and extending the program.

The California Autism Insurance Mandate requires private healthcare insurance plans to provide coverage for “behavioral health treatment” of children with autism and pervasive developmental disorders.

It was set to expire in July 2014, but, after the governor signed SB 126, will now operate until Jan. 1, 2017.

“Earlier this year, I stood on the Capitol steps and called for an extension to help tens of thousands more receive autism behavioral health treatments,” Steinberg said in a statement. “Today, that hope for more effective therapy is a reality for those who desperately need it.”

Steinberg said research shows that early behavioral intervention therapies improve brain functions, promote higher cognitive functions and reduce self-injurious behaviors for a significant number of patients.


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