(TRENTON) – The Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee will hold a special hearing Thursday to hear from families and discuss concerns that insurance companies are denying health care coverage for the treatment of autism despite a state law that requires them to do so.
New Jersey has one of the highest autism rates in the country. The state passed a law in 2010 that requires health plans run or regulated by the state to cover autism therapies, but many families with autistic children continue to fight their insurance providers for coverage. In one case reported by the Star Ledger last summer, a Verona family spent their savings and mortgaged their house to pay for years of behavioral therapy for their son who was diagnosed with a form of autism as a toddler. They spent thousands more in legal fees in order to convince their provider to cover the treatment.
“The challenges that these children and their families face are formidable,” said Gary S. Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic), who chairs the committee. “Parents with autistic children have enough on their plate. Their energies should be solely focused on the well-being of their children, not wasted fighting their insurance providers to cover treatments that they are obligated to cover under New Jersey law.”
The hearing will take place on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM in Committee Room 11, Fourth Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, New Jersey.
The committee will hear testimony from experts and parents who have experienced this problem. The Department of Banking and Insurance, the Division of Pension and Benefits and organizations involved in providing health insurance in the state have also been invited to testify.
The committee will also hear the following bills:
A-3519 (Green/ N. Munoz/ Stender/Bramnick) Establishes compensation limits for licensed public adjusters during certain emergencies.
A-3731 (Schaer/Eustace/Kean) “Certificates of Insurance Act.”