Before April is through, it is expected that Nathan Deal will be adding his signature to the legislation.
Senate Bill 1, an autism insurance bill, is among the hundreds of bills that are currently sitting on the desk of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, and is among those that are expected to be signed before the end of the month.
In this case, the insurance legislation will be called Ava’s Law, should it be passed, named after Ava Bullard.
If it does become a part of the autism insurance law in the state, it will make Georgia the 41st in the country to require that private insurers cover therapy for children who are on the spectrum. It is rather fitting that the bill be considered by the governor, this month, as April is Autism Awareness Month. It is Deal’s goal to consider it before the month comes to a close, but technically he has until May 12 to either sign the bill or to veto it.
The new law is designed to ensure that autism insurance would cover children up to the age of 6 years old.
It would provide those children with coverage for therapies up to $30,000 per year. The law was named after the daughter of Anna Bullard, who has been pushing for this type of insurance legislation for seven years, beginning when Ava was 3 years old. She has been working to boost awareness and drive legislation to assist families that are affected by autism. Bullard pointed out that treatment for the disorders in the autism spectrum can be very helpful but they cost between $20,000 and $50,000 per year. This is well beyond what most families can afford, meaning that many children don’t receive adequate assistance, if any.
The autism insurance legislation has benefitted greatly by the enthusiasm of Senator Tommie Williams (R-Lyons), who also happens to be the great uncle of Ava Bullard. He threw his support behind the cause and found other lawmakers whose enthusiasm matched his own for the cause, for example, Senator Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton). Senator Bethel explained that “we are watching a public health crisis unfold every 69 births in this country. That is higher than the highest rate of polio infection ever recorded in the U.S. and greater than the incidence of childhood diabetes, childhood cancer and childhood HIV/AIDS combined.”