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  • Writer's pictureAdam Dayan, Esq.

NY Autism Insurance Bill Obstacles

Was it too good to be true when Governor Cuomo signed the New York autism insurance bill into law, promising parents of children with autism insurance coverage for behavioral therapies and medical expenses? There appears to have been a hiccup in the implementation of that law. You may be aware that the governor's office has restricted the class of individuals who are considered "qualified" to deliver these therapies. Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA's), arguably the individuals most experienced in the provision of ABA therapy (a vital therapy for certain children with autism), have been deemed "not qualified" as providers for insurance purposes. Was this the result of a misunderstanding of what the BCBA credential signifies? Was it a deliberate move meant to insulate insurance companies and stymie vulnerable parents? It's not entirely clear.

In the meantime if you'd like to speak out about this issue, you can take action as described below in this communication I received from QSAC, an agency that delivers services to the autism community in New York City and Long Island : Take Action: Cuomo Admin. guts NY Autism Insurance Law Take Action! Eviscerates ABA coverage Just weeks before the New York autism insurance reform bill went into effect on January 1, the Cuomo administration issued an erroneous interpretation of the law that guts the only real step forward for families dealing with autism. Governor Cuomo’s Department of Finance has issued an “emergency” rule finding that will not recognize the credentials of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) for insurance billing purposes, so unless your behavior analyst also has a New York license as a physician, psychologist or other licensed professional, they will no be allowed to bill insurance companies. This interpretation reflects neither the letter nor intent of the law Governor Cuomo signed with much media attention and fanfare at the end of 2011. Thousands of students in New York schools receive ABA as required in their IEPs provided by BCBAs, and those BCBAs are paid with tax dollars. Yet when it comes to insurance company dollars, all of a sudden BCBAs aren’t properly credentialed. This is rank toadying to the insurance companies. Please click on the Take Action alert to send an email to the Governor and ask him to stop delaying therapy for some of New York’s most vulnerable students. And please call the Governor's office and politely ask the staffer to tell the Governor to do the right thing and provide ABA for New York’s students with autism.

Governor Andrew Cuomo (518) 474-8390

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