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Autism Bill Will Increase Coverage for Children

Staff Report

MONTGOMERY -Wednesday, SB283 had its public hearing in the Senate Health Committee. The bill would require health benefit plans to include coverage for treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder for children under nine years of age.

Alabama would follow in the foot steps of 29 other states who have passed similar legislation. The legislation would serve Alabamians that have children with Autism, a group that is growing at an alarming rate, according to Senator Cam Ward, the bill’s sponsor. Public schools have seen an increase of 3,667% of the number of diagnosed children attending those schools.

“1 in 110 children are diagnosed with Autism. We can no longer ignore these statistics. We owe it to Alabamians to pass fiscally responsible legislation that will provide coverage for these children,” Ward said.

The Fiscal responsibility for this bill would be minimal, with a projected cost of $.31 per month per person. Senator Ward thinks that is a small price to pay to give these children the medical treatment they need.

“Not only is the up front cost to the state minimal, but with treatment, many of these children will be able to enter the public education system, reducing the load and cost necessary for special education programs.”

Lorri Unumb, a spokeswoman for Autism Speaks, echoed Senator Ward’s statements and is grateful for the support the bill is receiving from the legislature

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“It is fiscally responsible to enact this kind of legislation. The cost isn’t zero, but it’s pretty low to give these kids what they need to live functioning lives,” Unumb said. “This bill is the difference between a meaningful life and nothing for these children, and it’s the difference between financial ruin and not for the family.”

For more information on the bill or to see the video Senator Ward’s full comments please visit

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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