One of the things we celebrated this past weekend was the passage of House Bill 2918. If made into law (needs to pass the Oregon State Senate and be signed by the Governor), basically states:
(that insurance companies) may not deny benefits to an individual who is covered under the plan because that individual has a pervasive developmental disorder
This is a giant step forward. The bill passed unanimously in the House 53-0.
Here is an article that appreared in our local paper this past weekend:
Speech therapy bill easily clears HousePublished: Saturday, May 12, 2007
SALEM – Rep. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene, literally put a face to the issue
of autism in the Oregon House of Representatives on Friday.
He did it by holding overhead an 8-by-11 photograph of his 5-year-old son.
Simon Edwards is one of the thousands of children with the
disorder in a state that has more such diagnoses per capita than any
Before the House voted 53-0 to require health insurance to
extend its coverage of speech therapy and other treatments to children
with autism, mental retardation and other developmental disabilities,
Edwards was among the legislators to speak on the bill.
"This guy, my son Simon, has autism," Edwards said while
holding up his son's picture for the other representatives and guests
in the House chamber to see.
Edwards is one of thousands of parents who could potentially
benefit from House Bill 2918 if it becomes law. The bill now goes to
the Senate for consideration.
The bill is intended to help families get medical insurance
coverage for the therapies that would benefit children with autism,
mental retardation and other "pervasive developmental disorders."
The bill does so by prohibiting insurers from denying benefits
to an enrollee who has been diagnosed with such a disorder. Edwards
said the bill was necessary because many insurance policies cover
occupational and speech therapy and other treatments for people with a
brain injury, for example, but not those with autism.
Edwards said his family had personally run into the kind of
problems the bill is meant to address. His insurance paid only for 30
minutes of speech therapy a week for Simon, which Edwards said wasn't
enough. He and his wife looked into paying out of pocket for additional
therapy sessions. "I can't remember the cost, except that we couldn't
afford it," he said.
Edwards said the bill was meant to aid thousands of families
whose children are part of a rapidly expanding population of young
people diagnosed with autism, yet are struggling to secure the kind of
response that past epidemics, such as polio, prompted from the medical
system and the government.
According to the Oregon Department of Education, among people
between the ages of 5 and 21, Lane County has 673 residents with
autism. Based on those and comparable figures for other counties, Tim
Mueller, an autism-awareness advocate, did some calculations to
conclude that Lane County's school-aged population included one person
with autism for every 91 people. That was the second highest ratio
among every county. Marion County had the highest ratio, 1-to-75, said
Mueller, who is with the Lane County chapter of the Autism Society of
I love you Chris. I am so proud of you and the work you are doing.