Stateline Midwest ~ April 2012

Michigan has joined four other Midwestern states in requiring insurers to cover therapies for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The package of bills (SB 414, 415 and 981) was passed by the Legislature in late March.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law this week a behavioral health parity bill that brings state law into line with federal law on requiring mental health coverage be comparable with other physical health coverage. The Chicago Tribune reported the Governor said at the signing "no one should be forced to forgo critical mental health care because of where they live or because their insurance charges more."

CSG South

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), including autism and Asperger syndrome and the less common Rett syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder, are complex pervasive developmental disabilities that result in potentially significant impairment in social interaction and communication, restricted or repetitive movement or the exhibition of unusual behaviors or interests. The causes of autism still are undetermined, and assigning responsibility for the rapid rise in the incidence of ASD is not entirely possible. Autism seems to have a strong genetic component, although the mechanism for inheritance—predisposition, mutation, or multigene interaction, among others—remains unexplained. Determining the cause of the rise in the number of autism cases is of significance for policymakers because it has implications for future policy directions.