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Poll: 82% Support In North Carolina For Autism Insurance Bill

Raleigh, NC (July 3, 2014) – North Carolinians overwhelmingly support insurance coverage for autism, according to a survey conducted by the conservative polling firm, Public Opinion Strategies.  Legislation requiring the coverage has twice passed the state House of Representatives, but continues to languish in the Senate.

Poll results indicate that 82 percent of North Carolina voters support requiring private health insurance companies to cover the treatment of autism. The results further show that the widespread support for the issue extends across ideological and political party lines.

See the poll results here.

Autism affects 1 in 58 children in North Carolina. And while the most effective, proven tool used to treat autism is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), most insurance plans do not cover ABA treatment in North Carolina, as they do in 37 other states. ABA is an intensive, one-on-one treatment that, according to decades of research, can help nearly half of young children with autism achieve normal functioning. In the Legislature, SB.493 has been amended by the House to include autism insurance coverage and now awaits concurrence from the Senate.

“The poll confirms what we have believed all along: that North Carolinians want children with autism to have meaningful health insurance coverage,” said Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks’ vice president for state government affairs. “I’ve been working on this for five years in North Carolina and have heard from families all across the state who desperately need this coverage. This bill will be a lifesaver for thousands of families in North Carolina.”

The poll also shows, by a 39 to 11 percent margin, that North Carolina voters would be more likely to re-elect their state legislator if they knew he/she voted to require that private insurance companies cover the treatment of autism. 

“An overwhelming majority of North Carolina voters, across all demographic groups, support the pending state legislation requiring private insurers to treat autism,” said Public Opinion Strategies, “And, by nearly a four-to-one margin, voters are more likely to reward their state legislator at the polls this November for their support of this issue.”

The poll included arguments in opposition to autism insurance reform, such as increased cost to small businesses and the addition of a “mandate,” and North Carolinians still overwhelmingly supported the bill.

This poll was a comprehensive, statewide telephone study among 600 likely voters commissioned by Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism awareness and advocacy organization from May 21-22, 2014.  The margin of error is + 4.0 percent.