WA Supreme Court - Autism Neurodevelopment Therapies Don't Conflict with Mental Health Therapies
Washington State mandated that both neurodevelopment therapies and mental health therapies be covered in health policies in Washington. Those familiar know that Neurodevelopment may include mental health therapies and vice versa. Its a little Venn diagram with an overlap in the middle.
Regence attempted to say that the two statutes were in conflict, and thus their exclusion of neurodevelopment therapies was valid. As a threshold matter here, how would they be the ones that get to pick which statute was invalid? Well, here, Regence argued that the later statute (the one for Mental Health) trumped. And that is a valid point of contention, but only if the statutes are only in conflict, rather than complimentary.
Regardless, our supreme court didn’t buy what Regence was selling:
Under the plain language of the statute, we conclude that the NOT mandate creates a minimum level of required coverage for neurodevelopmental therapies. However, when neurodevelopmental therapies are medically necessary to treat mental disorders in the DSM-IV-TR, the mental health parity act requires additional coverage. Insurers must meet the requirements of both acts.
Great day for parents of autistic children (or any others requiring mental health or neurodevelopment therapies.
The only gap in this is the laws as written still do not require neurodevelopment therapies for older children and above, unless they fall within mental health treatment.