Judge: Oregon insurer can't deny autism treatment

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Portland has ruled that a major Oregon health provider cannot deny coverage to autistic children for a specific treatment.

Judge Michael H. Simon found Providence Health Plan violated state and federal laws in its denial of Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA. ABA can cost up to $50,000 a year.

Last year, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill requiring insurers to pay for ABA starting in 2016.

Months before the ruling, Providence decided to cover up to 25 hours a week of the therapy. But families often seek coverage for more than 25 hours per week.

Because it was a class action suit, the decision could affect hundreds of children and other Oregon insurers and plans who have denied ABA.

Simon issued the ruling on August 8.

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