Gov. Nixon: Report shows more MO children benefiting from autism - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Gov. Nixon: Report shows more MO children benefiting from autism law

MISSOURI (KFVS) -

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced on Monday, February 2 that the annual Autism Report from the Missouri Department of Insurance shows that more Missouri children are benefiting from a law that requires insurance companies to cover treatment for autism-related conditions.

The number of those treated for autism-related conditions increased by more than 20 percent for the second consecutive year.

"Five years ago folks came together to expand health care access for Missouri children with autism, and today, that legislation continues to change lives," Gov. Nixon said. "This latest report demonstrates what can be accomplished when leaders come together to improve the lives of Missourians through common-sense health care reform."

The number of people receiving covered treatment in 2014 was 3,825, up from 3.070 in 2013 and 2.508 in 2012. Even as the number of Missourians receiving covered treatments rises, claims for autism-related treatments are only a small part of the more than $4.7 billion in claims paid by Missouri health insurers during 2014.

"This landmark legislation signed by Gov. Nixon in 2010 continues to make a real and lasting difference for thousands of Missouri families," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. "Nearly all Missourians in the fully insured market now have access to coverage for autism treatments. These claims make up only a small fraction of the total paid by health insurers, but they make a huge difference for the families who benefit."

The law, signed by Gov. Nixon in 2010, requires health insurance companies to cover specific autism therapies, including applied behavior analysis. Payments for autism treatment increased 127 percent from 2011 to 2014. The number of individuals treated increased by a little over 50 percent from 2012-2014.

According to data from insurance companies, claims for autism-related treatments totaled nearly $10 million in 2014, a small fraction of the more than $4.7 billion in claims paid by Missouri health insurers during 2014.

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