TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Deputy Insurance Commissioner Mary Beth Senkewicz today announced that the Developmental Disabilities Compact Workgroup has adopted a compact that will extend benefits to persons with all developmental disabilities, not just individuals with autism.
The proposal was offered by state Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and will make coverage available for persons with retardation, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Prader-Willi syndrome, Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder.
“It is very significant that the workgroup supported and passed this proposal,” said Deputy Commissioner Senkewicz. “It clearly demonstrates a commitment to serve all of Florida’s children with disabilities, not just those with autism. I commend former state Sen. Steven Geller, Sen. Gardiner and members of the workgroup for all of their efforts to make this happen.”
Insurance companies, HMOs and employers now must determine whether they will sign the new compact and offer the additional coverage for all persons with developmental disabilities or limit benefits to only persons with autism spectrum disorder, as mandated by Section 627.6686 of the Florida Statutes.
If insurers, HMOs and employers do not sign the compact, they still will be required to offer the statutorily mandated coverage, beginning April 1, 2009.
According to Florida law (only applicable to large groups), mandated coverage would enable beneficiaries with autism spectrum disorder to have access to up to $36,000 of coverage each year subject to a the lifetime cap of $200,000 for services prescribed by their treating physician.
A complete version of the newly adopted compact will be available soon. The proposal
– as offered at today’s workgroup meeting – is available on the Office web site.
The Developmental Disabilities Compact was established by Senate Bill 2654 and signed into law in May by Gov. Charlie Crist.
Called the "Window of Opportunity Act," Section 624.916, F.S. charged the Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) with developing and executing a compact relating to insurance coverage and access to services for persons with developmental disabilities. The Office also was charged with convening a consumer advisory workgroup to provide a forum for comment on the negotiated compact. Deputy Commissioner Senkewicz will schedule a meeting of the Consumer Advisory Workgroup in January to fulfill this charge.