RALEIGH (May 14, 2013) -- The North Carolina autism insurance reform bill cleared its first hurdle today, gaining approval 25-4 in the House Insurance Committee. North Carolina is one of 18 remaining states yet to require state-regulated health plans to cover the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism.
The bill goes next to the House Appropriations Committee.
Sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), Treicia 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 $75,000 a year. The bill would take effect October 1.
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.