NEW YORK, NY (May 20, 2010) Autism Speaks, the nations largest autism advocacy organization, today announced its support for Senate Bill 1265 and House Bill 1897, the 2010 North Carolina autism insurance reform bills. The legislation would require private health insurance companies to cover the screening, diagnosis, testing and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Sponsored in the Senate by State Senator William R. Purcell and in the House by Representative Bob England, M.D., S. 1265/H. 1897 includes coverage up to $75,000 per year for behavioral health treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, an evidence-based, medically-necessary autism treatment.
We applaud and thank Senator Purcell and Representative England 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.1265/H.1897 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 $75,000 per year. In the process, many risk their homes and the educations of their unaffected children essentially mortgaging their entire futures. Nineteen states Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin have passed similar autism insurance reform bills. Bills in Vermont, Missouri, and New Hampshire have been passed by the legislature and await signature into law by the governors.