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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 25, 2017

Good, bad changes to kids’ insurance

By Rich Taylor | Apr 06, 2017

Years of work by advocates for people with autism, medical professionals and lawmakers has paid off with the Legislature’s recent vote to require many employer-provided health insurance policies to cover treatment for children with an autism spectrum disorder.

Applied behavior analysis treatment must be provided by a board-certified behavior analyst, licensed physician or psychologist. Known as ABA treatment, it is shown in national studies to be most successful in young children. That’s why House File 215 encourages early treatment by setting maximum annual benefits by age.

The legislation includes large employers (more than 50 full-time employees) and public employee group policies, but does not apply to individual health insurance plans or small employer group plans. HF 215 was signed into law March 30, and takes effect in January 2018.

Iowa is a national leader in making sure children have insurance to get the health care they need.

Republicans and Democrats have worked together at the Statehouse to expand Medicaid and hawk-i, Iowa’s successful child health insurance program. It’s a national model in providing low-cost health care for kids.

It allows families to focus on their many other responsibilities without worrying that a trip to the hospital or sudden illness could bankrupt them.

These programs have been especially successful because we’ve made sure Iowans know about them. A big help in this effort is a check-off on Iowa’s income tax forms. With a simple check box, the state can find out if a taxpayer has children who need health care coverage and if the taxpayer’s income qualifies them for programs like hawk-i.

Unfortunately, Senate Republicans want to get rid of this successful initiative. Without it, many Iowans will no longer know they’re eligible for services their tax dollars pay for—and more kids will be without the coverage that can ensure they grow and develop properly by getting good health care at the right time.

 

– Sen. Rich Taylor of Mt. Pleasant represents Iowa Senate District 42, which comprises Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties.

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