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Calls to Action

Autism Speaks Takes On 'Big Insurance' In NC With Ad Campaign

July 15, 2014

RALEIGH, NC (July 14, 2014) – Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, today announced the launch of newspaper advertisements supporting families affected by autism in their fight towards autism insurance reform in the North Carolina Legislature. The North Carolina House twice in two years has passed reform bills, but the Senate has refused to take up the issue.

The ads lay out the medical and economic facts of applied behavior analysis (ABA) that have been misrepresented by Blue Cross Blue Shield and other opponents to autism insurance reform in this year’s short session. They also highlight the overwhelming 82 percent public support for this legislation in recent polling.

“It is shameless that Big Insurance companies are fighting against efforts to help children and their families who pay thousands of dollars a year in premiums for coverage that provides no meaningful autism benefits,” said Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks’ vice president for state government affairs. “The Senate must not stand for these barefaced lies and work with the House in finding a solution to help the 1 in 58 children affected with autism across the state.”

In both the 2013 and 2014 sessions the House has passed insurance reform bills, only to see the effort stalled by inaction in the Senate. During that time, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, Nebraska, Maryland and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enacted reform, while six other states, including Texas and Kansas, have strengthened their original laws.

“How is it that leading medical professionals and 37 other states have concluded the same thing, yet Blue Cross continues to look the other way,” said Unumb. “It’s time for the North Carolina Senate to stand with thousands of families who pay $60,000 a year out of pocket forcing some to move out of state.”

Researchers from the UNC Institute for Development Disabilities, American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute for Mental Health, the U.S. Surgeon General and countless other professional organizations have all endorsed ABA as an evidence-based treatment that has advanced the development and quality of life for generations of children with autism. 

The ads will run Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.