We have cleared the final hurdle before going to trial next Monday on our suit against the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), the state’s largest health insurance regulator, for illegally siding with insurance companies over autism treatment delays.
This week, a Sacramento judge refused the DMHC’s request to transfer our case to a Sacramento court, a move that would have certainly delayed resolution on this critical issue for the health of some of California’s most vulnerable children. Previously, the court had refused DMHC’s request to get an expedited hearing on the transfer request.
The suit, filed by Consumer Watchdog and Strumwasser & Woocher LLP, alleges that the DMHC, and its Director Cindy Ehnes, 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 medical 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 Mental Health Parity Act and the Knox-Keene Act.