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Member's Press Release

Release Date: 01/17/2008
Contact: Delegate Rodighiero (304) 340-3154

Delegate Ralph Rodighiero

Delegate Ralph Rodighiero introduced a new piece of legislation titled Autism Insurance Bill

Imagine your child or loved one being diagnosed with Autism and not being able to afford necessary treatment. For families that hear this, the news is very disheartening because most insurance policies don’t cover prevention or treatment for Autism. This is why on the tenth day of the 78th Legislative Session, Delegate Ralph Rodighiero introduced a new piece of legislation titled Autism Insurance Bill (HB 4091).

The purpose of this bill is to require health insurers to provide full coverage for the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. Autism spectrum disorder is a neurobiological condition which includes Autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett’s snydrome or Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

This bill would require every policy which provides coverage for hospital, surgical or medical care coverage to include full coverage for the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. This coverage is required regardless of whether the methods are research based or experimental. Each policy will also provide full (in-state or in-network) coverage for the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. If the individual is unable to receive these methods within the State of West Virginia, the individual will still be covered to receive this treatment from an out-of-state provider.

This bill hits close to home with Delegate Rodighiero because his son, Dominic, was diagnosed with Autism when he was two years old. Dominic showed the common symptoms of Autism such as becoming withdrawn and showing loss of eye contact and speech. Delegate Rodighiero and his wife, Terri, took Dominic to get tested for hearing loss because he wasn’t responding to his name and it was then they found out their son had Autism.

“I realized how hard it was to find assistance for occupational, speech and physical therapy and other treatments associated with Autism. I never thought that a condition such as Autism could cause such a financial burden on a family,” said Delegate Rodighiero.

Delegate Rodighiero continued by saying that since most private insurers don’t usually cover any of those expenses, the cost of paying for these treatments can put a burden on the families. Most families cannot afford to pay for these treatments, so there are people living with the diagnosis of Autism that with proper treatment, could be living a much better life. Delegate Rodighiero feels that this bill would help get the early detection and treatment that their loved ones deserve.

Anyone that has an interest in this bill or would like to voice your support of it, please contact Delegate Rodighiero at (304) 340-3154 or rodighiero@msn.com


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