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Schwarzenegger Administration Sued for Allowing Health Insurance Companies to Deny Autism Care
Date:7/1/2009

SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The mother of an autistic child joined Consumer Watchdog and its attorneys today to announce a lawsuit against the California Department of Managed Health Care ("DMHC"), the Schwarzenegger Administration agency responsible for regulating many of California's health insurers. The suit alleges that the DMHC has wrongfully allowed insurance companies to refuse to pay for autism treatments, resulting in the denial of critically needed, medically necessary treatment for autistic children.

The suit, filed by Consumer Watchdog and Strumwasser & Woocher LLP, alleges that the DMHC, and its Director Cindy Ehnes, recently changed the state agency's policy to permit insurers to deny coverage for Applied Behavioral Analysis ("ABA"), an essential treatment for autism, in plain violation of the California Mental Health Parity Act. That law requires health insurers to cover and pay for all medically necessary treatments for autism, including ABA. If successful, the suit would require the DMHC to bar insurers from refusing to cover medically necessary ABA treatments. The suit also seeks to compel the DMHC to turn over records that would expose the full extent of the DMHC's violations of the California Mental Health Parity Act and the Knox-Keene Act.

Download the complaint filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court here: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org/resources/Conformed_PetitionComplaint.pdf

Download the lawsuit exhibits here: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org/resources/Exhibits.pdf

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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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