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Virginia House of Delegates passes bill to lift age cap for autism health coverage

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RICHMOND, Va. – On Tuesday, the Virginia House of Delegates passed House Bill 2577 to lift the age cap for autism coverage, which will help approximately 10,000 people in Virginia get access to the healthcare they need.

“This piece of legislation has been a long time coming and I am proud of the House for taking this step to guarantee those on the Autism spectrum have access to much needed healthcare,” said Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “Many of these children are not diagnosed until they are already six or seven years of age and need access to important care for longer than just three or four years.”

State law currently only says health insurers must offer such coverage for people ages 2-10. As stated in a January 2013 report from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Autism Center of Excellence, the average age of diagnosis in Virginia is between six and seven years of age.

No other prevalent health condition – including asthma, diabetes and cancer – has coverage limits that are imposed based on the patient’s age. Coverage for all other health conditions is based on medical necessity.

Delegate Bob Thomas (R-Stafford) introduced the bill in January.

“Children did not choose to be born with Autism and I thank my colleagues for taking this giant step towards providing treatment for those diagnosed regardless of age,” said Thomas. “As a father of eight children, I know how important it is to families to ensure their children have every opportunity for success and this legislation will help those who need care the most.”

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