A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that the enactment of state laws mandating coverage of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was followed by sizeable increases in insurer-covered ASD care and associated spending.
Over the past decade, 46 states have passed laws requiring ASD coverage of autism by private health insurers. The study found that children in states that required ASD coverage were more likely to receive treatment.
“The hope of patient advocates and policymakers was that these insurer mandates would increase care for children with autism, and they seem to have done that—in fact, the impact was even larger than we had expected,” says Dr. Colleen L. Barry, the Fred and Julie Soper Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School.
The results, Dr. Barry adds, are important for states that have enacted such mandates to understand their impact, and also helpful for states considering whether to broaden mandates that are already in place. Dr. Barry is also affiliated faculty with the Johns Hopkins Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at the Bloomberg School.