Autism Coverage Gets a Thumbs Up In the Senate

February 25, 2014 16:31 pm

by Jon Richards · 12 comments

Both the Georgia House and Senate have been passing bills originating in their respective chambers, preparing for Crossover Day on Monday. In the Senate, Senate Bill 397 passed by a vote of 51 to nothing.

If passed in the House and signed into law, the bill would require insurers to provide coverage of autism spectrum disorders for children up to six years old. Georgia would become the 37th state to provide some form of autism insurance coverage.

Roswell Senator John Albers, who introduced similar legislation last year, is a strong proponent of autism insurance coverage. In a statement, he said,

Senate Bill 397 is a step in the right direction toward providing children like Ava Bullard with the appropriate care and treatment. The majority of states already have a funding mechanism in place for Autism; therefore, the adoption of this bill is crucial to making Georgia a more attractive destination for both businesses and families.

We are on the right side of ‘right’ and building treasures in heaven with this bill.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

gcp February 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm

But I thought Republicans were against mandates because of the cost to the insurance company and the policy holder. Republicans look more and more like Democrats.

ryanhawk February 25, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Seriously? Albers-care passed 51-0? I’m in favor of coverage for rare disorders being offered as a supplement that interested parties can freely contract for. That’s what insurance is supposed to be for… voluntary payments to insure against risk.

gcp February 25, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Well it does exempt insurers for a year if they prove it caused premiums to rise by over 1% but it is a mandate. So I guess mandates are good as long as they are not ACA related.

Chris Huttman February 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm

I’m curious if you know anything at all about how insurance works based on this comment.

If you bring a baby into the world and you have no idea what ailments they could possibly have, wouldn’t you want insurance to cover all the rare things without you having to click 200 boxes of interest?

ryanhawk February 25, 2014 at 8:33 pm

I am pretty sure insurance companies know how insurance works. If they can profitably supply an insurance product for which there is demand they will do so. These mandates are simply a mechanism whereby those who do NOT want the mandated coverage subsidize those who do. They may also be a payoff to special interests — providers of autism treatments looking to increase their profits.

Chris Huttman February 26, 2014 at 11:05 am

Please describe to me how an autism rider would work as an insurance product absent a mandate.

Would you make people buy insurance up front to cover say 10 years of potential autism treatment while they are pregnant? Would you let people pay year by year?

If you made people pay up front for essentially a lifetime of coverage, maybe the product would work for some people, but it would be expensive because not everyone would buy it and people with high risk would certainly buy it.

If you let people buy year by year, as soon as your kid hit 1 or 2 and you were pretty confident you didn’t have it you’d drop the coverage, meaning for all practical purposes the people left with coverage would have to cover the full cost of the treatment since only they’d be in the program.

gcp February 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Should the childless couple or the single childless person be forced to buy from an insurance company that must offer “optional supplemental” autism coverage or maternity or pregnancy coverage to everyone? Let the customer choose the insurance company based on his/her needs and the offerings of the insurer. If a pregnant couple or parents decide they want autism coverage let them freely contract with an insurance company that offers such coverage. Would such coverage go potentially unused? Of course. I have fire coverage on my house but I sure hope I never use it. I understand such specificity is often not offered with group coverage but not all of us have group policies. I also understand much of my argument is moot anyway as a result of ACA.

Autism coverage has been an issue at the legislature for several years but was just now passed. Some of us question aspects of the diagnosis but that’s a whole different issue. That it suddenly passed the senate unanimously well just remember it’s “for the children.”

Chris Huttman February 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm

So you basically envision insurance companies or plans that cater only to childless single people, or those over 55 who can’t get pregnant, or those under 30 who want a baby etc?

If you’ve never had a baby, you have a higher chance of getting breast cancer. Why should the pregnant mother have to buy insurance that covers a childless 55 year old’s elevated breast cancer risk? Do you see how absurd this trail of logic can become?

gcp February 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I want individuals or families to be able freely contract with insurers, participate in group plans or participate in no plan if they desire. Yes I understand it’s an archaic point of view but why are you complaining? Your side won…you got the ACA and thanks to the benevolent senate republicans and if the house agrees you will get another mandate. As I stated previously republicans are looking more and more like democrats.

objective February 27, 2014 at 10:38 am

the problems with all insurance is the over-abundance, if not omnipresent existence of externalities. we’ve heard about the towns where people don’t get fire protection services unless they’ve paid. bad idea, right, because if their house goes on fire, then it endangers everyone around them, and if enough ppl didn’t have the foresight or concern to protect their homes, the fire would just keep spreading. the problem here is that we all live in the same universe, and we are connected to each other no matter how hard we try to contract out of it. if one family, again for lack of foresight or concern, fails to get autism coverage, which is a seriously costly condition to treat, those costs externalize- whether to hospitals and the costs which would then be “subsidized” to other payers, or they would externalize to bankruptcy courts, or civil courts (for the enforcements of accumulated debts), or they would externalize to the supervision of unlawful practice of medicine, or to provision of goods in other safety net programs, or to the employers that hire either of the parents…
you simply cannot avoid this or deny we live together in this world. providing a more universal health care coverage is just a method to reduce externalities and incorporate the costs into at least the realm of health care that health care costs belong in. there are also lots of nice positive benefits of such incorporation- like letting the health care companies fully specialize in the calculation and costing of heath care risks (as opposed to thinking non-actuarial citizen-types can truly accurately calculate their costs/risks/benefits associated with any condition).
not to mention the moral plus, which – for anyone of faith- should go without further comment.

ricstewart February 27, 2014 at 10:47 am

gcp, if memory serves me correctly, you supported the unfunded E-Verify mandate in HB 87 in 2011, correct? And now suddenly you’re against unfunded mandates on private businesses?

gcp February 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm

ricstewart
E-verify ensures businesses don’t break the law by hiring illegals much like a business checks to verify age on an alcohol purchase or a gun dealer that is required to check your background prior to a gun purchase. Businesses have all kinds of mandates/regulations. My problem with mandates on insurance companies is that I am required to purchase their product and thus I must subsidize certain aspects (autism coverage) that I neither need nor want. I am not required to patronize a liquor store, gun dealer or any business yet I must buy health insurance.