The state Senate is ready to pass the autism insurance mandate bill. The debate’s final focus was on small business.
Backers of the bill think they have protected small businesses from big premium jumps caused because their insurance company will be required to offer autism disorder therapy coverage. Businesses of 50 or fewer employees could seek an exemption from providing coverage if their premiums go up more than two and a half percent in any one year.
One Senator says even an increase that small will encourage some businesses to quit offering employee health insurance. But sponsor Scott Rupp says the productivity of covered employees will offset that cost. Rupp responds :30 mp3
The Senate has added a provision, though, that could reduce insurance costs by letting companies from our surrounding states sell insurance here. Supporters say the additional competition should control increases, which are expected to be minimal anyway.
As the bill has been written in the senate, health insurance companies would have to provide as much as $55,000 in therapy payments per child per year.
Financial analysts say the coverage could cost the state as much as eleven million dollars although Rupp suggests that figure is high. Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Mayer says the state does not have that kind of money laying around in these times of repeated budget cuts.
Nonetheless, the Seante is expected to send the bill to the House where leadershp has made passage a high priority.. The House has been working on its own version of the bill.