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January 2012

by Ginger Luetkemeyer Jefferson City, MO - Governor Nixon made a surprise appearance at the December 3, 2011 Missouri Autism Summit. His unexpected visit was to express his ongoing support of the new autism insurance legislation. The Autism Summit was hosted by Missouri's Dept. of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration (DIFP), to discuss Missouri's autism insurance law and the progress in implementing it. With approximately 70 people in attendance, the day covered a range of issues and topics related to autism insurance coverage, billing, and reimbursement. There were reports from autism

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providers of behavior therapy (ABA) as to their success with billing insurance companies.  Discussions centered on the challenges of becoming an in-network provider with insurance companies and the challenges in successfully billing insurance companies. DIFP provided an update of the Behavior Analyst Board, which is in the process of writing rules of ethical conduct for behavior analysts in Missouri. Unfortunately, there seems to be relatively few number of claims being processed, and while the opinions vary as to why, most agree that there is still a "learning curve" for most consumers. The state law only affects group policies, and does not apply to ERISA or selffunded plans.  To determine what type of coverage they have, families should verify through their employer who provided the insurance. A shortage of providers in Missouri that offer ABA therapy, and even fewer that are contracted with insurance companies is also causing problems. Insurance companies are now seeking out providers to join their networks, and because of the shortage, some insurance companies have even waived the credentialing process for providers to enroll. Several major insurance companies in Missouri were in attendance and gave presentations on how providers can contract with them. Every insurance company should be able to provide a listing of providers for behavior therapy. Eight videos of the Summit, including Nixonʼs unexpected visit, are now posted the  Missouri DIFP Youtube channel and can be accessed by typing DIFP Autism S u m m i t i n t h e s e a r c h b a r. Families are encouraged to contact the DIFP Insurance Consumer Hotline if they have difficulty with accessing their benefits, reading or understanding your policy or benefits, or if you feel you have been wrongly denied an insurance claim. Hotline: 800-726-7390, open 8am - 5 pm weekdays.

Missouri Autism Report January