Tufts to pay $90,000 to resolve allegations of inhibiting access to autism treatments

Mark Iandolo Feb. 19, 2016, 8:39pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced a settlement with Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. (Tufts) that resolves allegations the organization inhibited member access to coverage of autism spectrum disorder treatments.

“We can’t treat patients with behavioral health issues, including autism, differently from those with physical conditions,” Healey said. “Together, we need to break down the barriers that for too long have made the treatment of behavioral health secondary in our health care system. We appreciate that Tufts will take these actions to help ensure access to behavioral health treatment.”

Allegations claimed that by inhibiting member access to treatment for autism spectrum disorder, Tufts violated Pennsylvania's autism insurance, mental health parity and consumer protection laws.

As part of the agreement, Tufts will pay $90,000 to the Commonwealth. This includes $65,000 to be distributed to programs to improve autism care and treatment, $20,000 in attorneys’ fees and $5,000 in civil penalties.

Assistant Attorney General Shannon Choy-Seymour and Deputy Division Chief Eric Gold of the health care division handled the case.

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