N.C. Senate Bill Offers Relief for ASD Patients
Group health insurers are now required to cover adaptive behavior treatments for children with autism spectrum disorder.
On April 28, 2015 the North Carolina Senate approved Senate Bill 676, which requires group health insurers to cover adaptive behavior treatments for children with autism spectrum disorder.
“We have been working towards this legislation for seven years,” says Jenifer Mahan, director of advocacy and public policy at the Autism Society of North Carolina.
Before it can become law, the North Carolina House of Representatives must approve. As of June 2015, the N.C. House was considering a slightly different bill, and once they approve it, the Senate and the House have to agree on the final wording of the law. But the passage of Bill 676 is a big step — the House has passed more than one autism insurance bill before; the Senate has been more reluctant.
“Now I’m confident they’ll work out the differences,” says Mahan. “There’s been a tremendous amount of advocacy. The families, individuals and professionals have been great. They’ve called and written and sat down with representatives, and all that work has paid off. I’m delighted to see so much attention on this issue.”
An insurance bill will not only increase access to therapeutic services, but will most likely encourage service providers to expand offerings across the state.
Read more: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder