OK Lawmakers Pass Bill Requiring Insurance Companies Pay For Autism Therapy

Thursday, May 5th 2016, 7:15 pm
By: News On 6

Families with children on the Autism spectrum are savoring a victory thanks to a bill passed by the Oklahoma Legislature.

One family has been working for the last year to get the bill passed, and now that it is, insurance must now pay for their children’s therapy.

“She didn't have to sign it, it would have gone into law anyway, so she didn't have to sign it, but we are so thrilled that she did," said Autumn Ryan.

We met her son, Charlie, and the Ryan family last year when their insurance company threatened to yank Charlie's and dozens of other children’s Autism insurance coverage due to a loophole in Oklahoma law.

4/15/2015 Related Story: Oklahoma Families Claim Children With Autism Being Left Behind

Since then the Ryans and hundreds of other families have been fighting to fix the problem.

Now, more than a year later, they have something to smile about.

“My favorite thing about passing this insurance is that it was a total grassroots effort," Autumn Ryan said.

We followed the Ryan's to the state capitol a few months ago, on one of the family's many visits to the legislature. They've spent the last year rallying support for the bill, which closes the loophole and ensures the therapy children on the spectrum need.

2/17/2016 Related Story: Families Lobby At Capitol To Include Autism In Health Coverage

Autumn said, "We're looking at the possibility of him having a job. We don't count on Charlie moving out of our home, but it would be nice for him to feel like he was a contributing member of our society, and now he has that chance."

Ryan said, while the law is a huge victory for the families, they still have some more steps to take - like advocating for some of the caps to be raised and certain restrictions loosened.

But, she said that will come with time. Right now, they have so much to celebrate.

The families plan on having a bill signing celebration sometime over the summer.