Republicans Hope to Lift Age Cap on Autism Health Insurance Coverage

Jan 15, 2019

Lawmakers in Richmond are hoping to expand health insurance coverage to children with autism.

Kate Fletcher has three sons and they all have autism, so getting services for them isn’t easy because health insurance companies are not required to provide services after the age of 10. That means no pharmaceuticals. No behavioral services. No physical therapy.

“When he turned 11, he still had autism. That didn’t go away. So this would be game changing for our family to be able to continue those services.”

Delegate Bob Thomas is a Republican from Fredericksburg. He has a bill that would lift the age restriction, preventing health insurance companies from having any cap on age for autism services.

“No other health impairment, including asthma, diabetes or cancer has such age limits imposed on them. And we believe that coverage for all of these health conditions is based on medical necessity. And autism should be treated no differently."

House Republican leaders are identifying this issue as a major priority, even though it’ll end up costing the state more money to change the state health insurance plans. But they say it’s worth it to make a change that will help families with autism across Virginia.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.