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Up to 400 families to be reimbursed for ABA denials
PHILADELPHIA (December 5, 2013) -- A U.S. District Court judge has given preliminary approval to a $2.4 million class action lawsuit brought against Cigna for improperly denying coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA)for autism as "experimental."
Judge Juan R. Sanchez scheduled a hearing for February 9 to finalize the settlement which was brought by Kristopher Churchill on behalf of Cigna policyholders nationwide who were denied ABA coverage since 2004. An estimated 350 to 400 families will be able to seek reimbursement under the settlement.
The settlement was announced in Top Class Actions.com
Cigna agreed to produce a list of all individuals who were enrolled in a Cigna health plan and submitted claims for ABA treatment for autism since Nov. 24, 2004 that were denied because Cigna deemed the therapy“investigative or experimental.” Under the proposed settlement, Cigna also will provide a listof all individuals enrolled in theNetApp Medical plan whose coverage or rider provided by Cigna for ABAwas denied since July 1, 2011.
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Take the conference survey here, or access the survey on the second screen of our app under "Conference Evaluation."
GAO reports cites potential for duplication in studies, federal agencies disagree
WASHINGTON, DC (November 25, 2013) -- Autism Speaks reiterated its call for close monitoring of federal autism research spending to assure that scarce dollars are used efficiently in studying the nation's fastest growing developmental disability.
Autism Speaks restated its policy following the release of a report by the General Accounting Office (GAO) that found a potential for duplication in research work coordinated by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The GAO found no evidence of duplication, but rather raised concerns over the current process for awarding federally funded research studies.
Several federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, issued strong rebuttals to the GAO findings.
"We are concerned that this report may provide a risk of misinforming policy makers and the public," HHS said in its comments. "Although this report acknowledges that duplication is necessary in science for the sake of replicating or corroborating results, it does not appreciate the full extent of the necessity of replication and the extensive policies in place at HHS and other federal agencies to prevent redundant studies."
The GAO report was requested by Congress when it reauthorized the Combating Autism Act in 2011. Autism Speaks supported the request and renewed its call for tight accountability over federal research spending in meetings with Members of Congress during last week's Autism Speaks to Washington policy summit.
The GAO recommended a series of steps for federal agencies that award autism research funding to better coordinate their contract activities.
14 of Fortune Top 100 firms including coverage in employee health plans
NEW YORK (November 26, 2013) -- An increasing number of the nation's top companies are voluntarily offering their employees autism coverage in ther health plans. With the addition of JPMorgan Chase, 14 of the Fortune Top 100 firms now provide the coverage, based on information available to Autism Speaks.
Larger companies tend to self-insure their employee health plans and therefore are regulated under federal ERISA law which does not require coverage for autism benefits, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA). Because they aregovernedunder federal law, these plans are exempt from the autism insurance reform laws that have been enacted in 34 states.
Based on their ranking in the Fortune 500, the 14 firms are:RANK COMPANY HEADQUARTERS EMPLOYEES 6 Apple Cupertino, CA 76,100 7 General Motors Detroit, MI 213,000 18 JPMorgan Chase New York, NY 258,965 25 Wells Fargo San Francisco, CA 269,200 34 Home Depot Atlanta, GA 340,000 35 Microsoft Redmond, WA 94,000 50 United Technologies Hartford, CT 218,300 54 Intel Santa Clara, CA 105,000 58 Merck Whitehouse Station, NJ 83,000 60 Cisco Systems San Jose, CA 66,639 68 Goldman Sachs Group New York, NY 32,400 70 Abbott Laboratories Abbott Park, IL 92,939 80 Oracle Redwood City, CA 115,000 90 American Express New York, NY 63,500
Global financial services firm joins growing list of major employers to voluntarily provide coverage
NEW YORK (November 26, 2013) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) will voluntarily offer its employees autism insurance benefits starting in 2014, becoming the latest Fortune 500 company to extend the coverage through its company health plan. Because JPMorgan Chase self-funds its insurance plan, it is covered under federal ERISA law which does not require autism coverage.
"Autism Speaks commends JPMorgan Chase for its leadership in addressing the needs of its employees," said Autism Speaks President Liz Feld. "The cost of caring for a child with autism can cost up to $60,000 a year, a crushing burden for families in the absence of meaningful insurance coverage. More and more responsible employers, such as JPMorgan Chase, are recognizing this is the right thing to do."
“We constantly review our benefit programs and offerings to make sure they address the needs of our employees and their families," said John L. Donnelly, JPMorgan Chase executive vice president and head of human resources. "We are so pleased to be able to offer this important new benefit.”
Of the 100 top Fortune 500 companies, Autism Speaks is aware of 14 that now offer autism insurance benefits to their employees. American Express, United Technologies and GM also joined the list this year.
One of the nation's oldest financial institutions, JPMorgan Chase operates in more than 60 countries with 260,000 employees. With assets of $2.5 trillion, the firm provides investment banking, consumer financial services, small business and commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management and private equity services.