Insurance plans must soon include coverage for autism treatment

PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – Starting in 2021, all insurance plans offered in South Dakota will have to cover the cost for applied behavior analysis therapy for the treatment of autism. That– thanks to federal approval (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid/Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight) of the state’s new Essential Health Benefits benchmark design plan.

Jill Kruger is the deputy director of the South Dakota State Division of Insurance. She says the EHB benchmark plan spells out the minimum coverage individual or small group health plans must have to be compliant with the Affordable Care Act.

Kruger says coverage won’t begin until 2021 because insurance companies need time to determine details of their coverage.

Last week (Aug. 29), South Dakota joined a bipartisan coalition of 47 states asking Congress to approve legislation providing ongoing federal support for research into autism spectrum disorders and services to those affected by these conditions.

State Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg says the Autism CARES Act of 2019 would replace previous legislation set to expire at the end of this month (Sept. 30, 2019).

View information on SD’s 2021 EHB benchmark plan at