Generosity of state insurance mandates and growth in the workforce for autism spectrum disorder. Academic Article uri icon


  • To improve access to health services for children with autism spectrum disorder, US states have passed laws requiring health insurers to cover autism-related care, commonly known as state insurance mandates. However, the features of mandates differ across states, with some state laws containing very generous provisions and others containing very restrictive provisions such as whether the mandates include children aged above 12years, whether there is a limit on spending, and whether there are restrictions on the types of services covered. This study examined the relationship between generosity of mandates and growth in the health workforce between 2003 and 2017, a period during which 44 states passed mandates. We found that states that enacted more generous mandates experienced significantly more growth in board-certified behavioral analysts who provide behavioral therapy as well as more growth in child psychiatrists. We did not find differences in the growth of pediatricians, which is a less specialized segment of the workforce. Our findings were consistent across eight different mandate features and suggest that the content of legislation may be as important as whether or not legislation has been passed in terms of encouraging growth in the supply of services for children with autism spectrum disorder.

published proceedings

  • Autism

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • McBain, R. K., Cantor, J. H., Kofner, A., Callaghan, T., Stein, B. D., & Yu, H.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • McBain, Ryan K||Cantor, Jonathan H||Kofner, Aaron||Callaghan, Timothy||Stein, Bradley D||Yu, Hao

publication date

  • May 2021