Utah’s experimental autism “lottery” program hopes to be made permanent.

Utah, U.S – it is hoped that a bill will make Utah’s experimental autism “lottery” program permanent.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the $2 million measure, HB88, would be able to continue the program in perpetuity and would provide 270 autistic children annual access to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).

The bill would also require the insurer for state employees, Public Employee Health Plan (PEHP), to cover ABA therapy.

The lottery was created a year ago as part of a mandate requiring state-regulated insurers to cover ABA therapy and has proved to be a success.

The article reports that:

‘Nevertheless, the bill cleared the Senate Health and Human Services committee on Monday with the blessing of Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, the sponsor of a competing measure that would require insurers to cover autism treatment.’

HB88 now has one final stop in the Senate before going to the governor.

‘Shiozawa’s bill, SB57, won committee endorsement but hasn’t made it through the full House or Senate.’

Shiozawa and the advocacy group Autism Speaks see the two bills as complementary.

John Owen, director of the Utah Autism Coalition said that Men love’s bill will cover low-income families and Shiozawa’s bill will cover a portion of Utah’s privately insured population, easing pressure on the Medicaid lottery.

Utah is one of 16 states that don’t require insurers to cover autism treatment.

The full article by Kirsten Stewart in The Salt Lake Tribune can be found here