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Gov. Shapiro's New Autism Coverage Requirement for Insurers | WDIY Local News

Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro announced Wednesday that all commercial insurers will be required to meet obligations for autism coverage.

According to a press release, the new mandatory coverage including benefits for autism will begin on January 1, 2024.

Shapiro lists autism coverage under the Mental Health Parity Laws, which require insurance coverage for mental health conditions to be as attainable as coverage for other medical conditions. They’ve been in effect since 2008 but have been more heavily enforced during Shapiro’s time in office.

“Insurers who do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania next year must follow our regulations for mental health Parity requirements, and their plans now must pass an enhanced compliance review led by Commissioner Humphries.”

At a press conference, advocate Michael Alos shared his experience with autism. He explained that he struggled with making friends, communicating with others, and understanding social norms.

“While I’m happy with who I am and the life I have today, I experienced unnecessary struggles and hardships that I might not have experienced if I had been diagnosed in childhood, and if the treatment options were different in Pennsylvania.”

Speeches by both Alos and Governor Shapiro emphasized that Pennsylvanians shouldn’t be shut out of coverage or struggle to afford vital services. Alos shared his excitement to look ahead to Pennsylvania’s future.

“What Governor Shapiro, Commissioner Humphries, and the partners here today are showing, is that when we work together, we can help autistic people live the best version of their lives."

James is the News and Public Affairs Director for WDIY. He reports on stories in the Lehigh Valley and across the state which impact the region, along with managing WDIY's volunteers who help create the station's diverse line-up of public affairs programs.
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