Autism Health Insurance Legislation Gains Public Support

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North Carolina businesses and organizations that serve the autism community, including the Autism Society of North Carolina, publicly stated their support today for Senate Bill 676, legislation to bring autism insurance coverage to the state.

North Carolina businesses and organizations that serve the autism community publicly stated their support today for Senate Bill 676, legislation to bring autism insurance coverage to the state. The bill, “Autism Health Insurance Coverage,” was introduced in the NC Senate on March 26 by Sens. Tom Apodaca and Joyce Krawiec, with 10 co-sponsors.

A group of North Carolina practitioners, family advocates, and payers worked together to propose a legislative solution for North Carolina to provide insurance coverage that would improve the lives of many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. The bill, SB676, embraces many of the concepts developed by this North Carolina coalition.

“Senator Apodaca’s leadership in introducing Senate Bill 676 is an important step to help the growing number of families affected by autism in our state,” said Tracey Sheriff, CEO of the Autism Society of North Carolina. “Our organization, numerous families, and many partners have worked to make autism insurance a reality in North Carolina for many years, and we are excited to see progress.”

The bill will deliver intensive interventions that will significantly improve functional outcomes for many affected children.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Represents a balanced North Carolina-based solution developed by North Carolina organizations.
  • Provides a clear definition of Adaptive Behavioral Treatment that is not limited to one type of therapy, but includes Applied Behavioral Analysis as well as other evidence-based interventions, including ones that were developed here in North Carolina by TEACCH.
  • Provides access for children living across the entire state by supporting a range of professional disciplines to implement intensive interventions with necessary oversight.
  • Balances concerns about providing quality treatment with a cost-effective model. Provides a benefit through age 18.

Background:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. As many as 1 in 58 children may be diagnosed with ASD in North Carolina, according to a prevalence study by the CDC of 8-year-old schoolchildren.
  • For more than 45 years, the Autism Society of North Carolina has worked to address areas of need and expand services for the autism community in North Carolina. ASNC works to directly improve the lives of individuals affected by autism by providing advocacy, education, and services.
  • For more information, call 1-800-442-2762 or visit http://www.autismsociety-nc.org.

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David Laxton
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