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Ava's Law Passes Senate
Tuesday, 25 February 2014

February 25--  A bill spearheaded by Anna Bullard of Toombs County passed the Georgia Senate today.  The bill is named for Anna's daughter, Ava, who was diagnosed with autism when a young child.

Sen. John Albers (R –Roswell) applauds the passage of Senate Bill 397 today, which received a vote of  51 to 0. If adopted, this legislation will require insurers to provide coverage for children up to six years old who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Sen. Albers (R – Roswell) introduced similar legislation to SB 397, known as Ava’s Law, earlier last year and is one of the state’s strongest proponents for Autism Insurance Coverage.

“Senate Bill 397 is a step in the right direction toward providing children like Ava Bullard with the appropriate care and treatment,” said Sen. Albers. “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.”

Senate Bill 397 would require health care policies to include:

·       Coverage for any assessments, evaluations, or tests prescribed by a physician or psychologist to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder

·       Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment if deemed medically necessary

·       Unlimited doctor or specialized care visits

·       Up to $35,000 annually in coverage for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) treatments

·       Prescription drug coverage if it is already provided by the policy or contract

Insurers who prove the mandate would result in at least a one percent rate hike for all policies, or the costs of ABA treatment would exceed one percent of the premiums charged over the experience period, would be exempt from providing coverage for one year.

The coverage requirements outlined Senate Bill 397 does not apply to plans for small businesses with less than 10 employees. Additionally, there is no requirement to provide coverage for autism spectrum disorder for any insurance plans offered through the health exchange.

If signed into law, Georgia would join 35 other states that currently provide some form of autism insurance coverage.

“We are on the right side of ‘right’ and building treasures in heaven with this bill,” said Sen. Albers.”

Senate Bill 397 now transfers to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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