SALT LAKE CITY — Insurance companies would have to cover autism spectrum disorder under a bill that passed the Utah Senate on Friday.
SB57 requires health benefit plans to cover up to $36,000 annually for a child with autism who is younger than 9 years old and up to $18,000 for children ages 9 to 18 for treatment of the condition.
"We know this is a real disease. We know there is a cure. We're simply asking for insurance coverage," said Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, the bill's sponsor.
Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said he knows of a young boy who was treated for a broken arm but the insurance company denied coverage because of his autism.5 comments on this story
"That is discrimination. If that's how insurance companies act in my district, it's going to change how I feel about insurance mandates," he said.
Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, was among those who opposed the bill, which passed 17-7. He said he couldn't support a mandate when there isn't money to pay for it.
"I want to fund these people. But I have to take someone else's money in order to fund this program. Where do we draw the line?" he said.
The bill now goes to the House.
— Dennis Romboy