ATLANTA (January 13, 2013) — The Senate and House sponsors of Ava’s Law said they will press forward for passage of the autism insurance reform bill as the Georgia Legislature reconvenes.
“We commend Senator John Albers and Representative Ben Harbin for their leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Georgia families,” said Judith Ursitti, Autism Speaks director of state government affairs. “Autism Speaks joins Georgia’s autism community in Georgia calling on the legislature to pass Ava’s Law and join the 34 other states that have passed similar legislation.
Georgia is one of 16 states that do not require insurers to pay for therapy, and Ava’s Law would require state-regulated health plans to cover medically necessary services for the evaluation, assessment, testing, screening, diagnosing and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. (A Fact Sheet on Ava’s Law is here.)
A House version of the bill, (HB.309), has been introduced by Rep. Ben Harbin (R-Evans). “Passing Ava’s Law is the morally right and fiscally conservative thing to do,” says Senate Sponsor John Albers. (SB 191) The bill is named after Ava Bullard, whose mother Anna Bullard of Lyons, posted this YouTube video http://youtu.be/HFkAnSCNQEc describing her family’s experience raising a child with autism and the amazing progress she made. Bullard and other Georgia advocates have helped rally support for the introduction of this year’s bill. Bullard says,” the average cost savings for the state if a child gets intervention is at least 1 million dollars but more importantly you change the life of a child and their family forever.”
Ava Bullard was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Her mother, Anna, was told Ava would never be able to speak. Anna’s search for scientifically proven treatment for Ava led her to Early Autism Project, whose therapists began providing intensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to Ava when she was three years old, resulting in significant improvement. Today, Ava is a fourth-grader in a general education classroom in Lyons, Ga., who no longer requires intensive treatment.