RALEIGH (May 15, 2013) -- The North Carolina House of Representatives voted 105-7 for a bill that would require state-regulated health insurers to cover common autism therapies, including ABA. The measure moves next to the Senate.
North Carolina is one of just 18 remaining states yet to enact autism insurance reform.
Sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg), Tom Murry (R-Wake) and Phil Sheppard (R-Onslow), HB498 would cover speech, occupational and physical therapy; behavioral health treatment, such as Applied Behavior Analysis, would be covered for up to $36,000 a year. The bill would take effect October 1.
Benefits would be covered through age 23; children would have to be diagnosed by age 8 to qualify.
In addition, the bill would benefit military families stationed in North Carolina by removing restrictive laws that prevent providers covered under TRICARE, the Department of Defense health insurance program, from operating in the state. North Carolina is home to more than a quarter million active duty and retired military personnel stationed out of facilities such as Camp Lejeune, Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base.