Group Health Cooperative has agreed to cover Applied Behavioral Therapy to treat autism and autism spectrum disorders under a class-action settlement now under review by a King County Superior Court judge.
The lawsuit, filed in 2010 by the law firm Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore, covers about 800 Group Health members, and is one of six similar pending lawsuits brought by the firm against Washington insurers, seeking neurodevelopmental and behavioral therapies for developmental disablilities.
“The court process is moving us toward a determination of appropriate coverage following the passage of the mental health parity laws at the state level,” Group Health’s president and CEO, Scott Armstrong, said in a statement.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of a boy with autism whose parents sought the therapy. The boy’s mother, Clara Chan, said: “This agreement paves the way for many children with autism to have access to this essential therapy.”
Rick Spoonemore, one of the family’s lawyers, commended Group Health, saying the agreement “set the standard for coverage of ABA therapy by which all other insurers will be judged.”