NEW YORK, NY (MARCH 18, 2011) Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism advocacy organization, today announced its support for S. 115, an autism insurance reform bill, in the state of North Carolina. The legislation would require private health insurance companies to cover the screening, diagnosis, testing and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for individuals with the disorder.
Sponsored in the North Carolina Senate by Senator William Purcell (District 15), as well as Senators Linda Garrou (District 32), Eric Mansfield (District 21) and Robert Atwater (District 18), S. 115 includes coverage of behavioral health treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based, medically-necessary autism therapy. Behavioral therapies would be limited to $75,000 per year.
We applaud and thank Senators Purcell, Garrou, Mansfield and Atwater for their leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of North Carolina families, said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president for programs and services. Autism Speaks joins North Carolinas autism community in calling on the legislature to pass S. 115 and join the growing number of states that have ended healthcare discrimination against children with autism.
Most states do not require private insurance companies to cover even essential autism treatments and services. In the absence of coverage, families often pay as much as they can out-of-pocket for services that can cost upwards of $50,000 per year. In the process, many risk their homes and the educations of their unaffected children essentially mortgaging their entire futures.
Twenty-four Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. Several other state legislatures will vote on similar legislation during the current 2011 session.