When I started with Autism Speaks in 2008, one of the first calls I had was with a North Carolina volunteer named Bob D’Amelio. I was working in the State Government Affairs department, with a mission to pass autism insurance laws across the country. Bob, an autism dad, wanted to pass a law in North Carolina and was on the phone with me in 2008 to make that happen.
It’s now 2015. The road to autism insurance reform in North Carolina has been long. But today, the North Carolina General Assembly finally passed a bill.
It’s not a perfect bill. Not one of the autism insurance bills has been. But it will provide coverage for autism diagnosis and treatment, including ABA for North Carolinians through age 18, up to $40,000 per year. The coverage applies to individuals who have large group insurance or grandfathered or transitional policies.
Many North Carolina autism families played a significant role in securing the passage of this bill. I’m not going to try to name them all here. But no one has been in this NC battle longer than Bob D’Amelio. So it is most fitting that the North Carolina General Assembly has passed this bill on Bob’s birthday.
Happy birthday, Bob, and thanks for your perseverance!!!