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01-05-2015 | Letter to the Editor | Uitgave 5/2015

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 5/2015

It’s About Time for Autism Reform Legislation in Utah

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 5/2015
Brian J. Shiozawa
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Utah has one of the highest rates of autism in the country. Prior to passage of SB57, families were going bankrupt trying to pay for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy. Without therapy, children with autism struggle with basic human interactions and suffer long-term disability. Ensuring that autistic children have access to ABA therapy is a serious public health issue. Utah has succeeded in enacting legislative reform for autism thanks to the leadership of a physician. Physicians of all specialties, especially those with intimate experience treating autistic patients, can help to promote necessary legislative reform in this and other areas.


On 3 April 2014, Governor Gary Herbert signed into law a health insurance reform bill that requires private insurers to cover autism therapy. Specifically, SB57 requires state-regulated health plans to cover applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. While early diagnosis and intervention can reduce the long-term cost of autism, families are finding themselves bankrupt in order to pay for ABA therapy. Currently, 37 states, and the District of Columbia have enacted insurance reform laws. Ensuring that children with autism receive proper therapy is a serious public health issue. Utah was right to pass reform legislation because it properly benefits and safeguards the interests of affected children in promoting their well-being and participation in society.

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