Parents with kids on the spectrum in N.C. must currently pay for speech therapies and treatments out of their own pockets.
North Carolina is among a large number of states that is looking into their regulations regarding autism insurance coverage and what parents of children on the spectrum should have to pay out of their own pockets when it comes to various treatments and therapies.
In 37 American states, the cost of treatments to help autistic kids speak is covered – at least in part – by health insurance.
Parents in North Carolina are now hopeful that the lawmakers in the state will cause the state to join the others that provide this type of autism insurance. The time for this accomplishment is starting to run thin, as this is only a short session. While many families across the country receive financial assistance for certain behavioral therapies, such as ABA, through their health plan coverage, at the moment, families in N.C. are doing what they need to do to pay for it themselves. This includes everything from selling homes to borrowing from family and friends, as this is no light expense.
Despite the fact that it is medically recommended, health plans in N.C. don’t provide this autism insurance.
ABA is currently costing parents around $100 per hour, and several hours are needed every week in order to be effective for most kids with autism. House Bill 498 will require health insurance companies to have to broaden the coverage that they provide for autism treatments and therapies. While that bill did pass the House in 2013, it has been sitting in a Senate committee without moving forward, so far.
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According to Senator Jeff Tarte, the Blue Cross Blue Shield execs could cause the delay to the bill to end. He explained that “If there is any group that can definitely sway the decision to move this it would be the executives and the people at Blue Cross Blue Shield without a doubt.”
That said, there is also a second bill, beyond that first one, that is bringing hope to parents of children on the autism spectrum. Senate Bill 493 is also geared toward this issue, for Health and Safety Regulatory Reform. That broader bill has now had Autism Insurance Reform worked into it. There are strong odds that the Senate will be voting on that bill before the close of the short session.