RALEIGH: NC Senate to vote on Autism Insurance Bill - WNCN: News, Weather

NC Senate to vote on Autism Insurance Bill

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Scott Taylor works on a puzzle with his son Daniel, who has autism. Scott Taylor works on a puzzle with his son Daniel, who has autism.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

For many families who have children with autism, most of their care is not covered under insurance. That's why when the General Assembly reconvenes in May, all eyes are on a bill that could change insurance coverage.  

Scott Taylor is the proud parent of three sons, two of them have the autism spectrum disorder.

"To not pass this bill is to write those kids off. Our insurance will cover speech therapy and occupational therapy."

But Taylor said it is still not enough.

"What my son Daniel needs is Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA Therapy."

Daniel, 12, was on ABA therapy for three years, but his parents took him off it more than a year ago because it was costing them $18,000 a year. 

But because of the therapy, Taylor said, "He can read a lot better. He can speak."

ABA therapy was critical to Daniel's growth and that is why Taylor and other advocates are lobbying to get HB 498 to pass the Senate. It already passed the House floor. 

Jennifer Mahan, with the Autism Society of North Carolina, said the financial burden to families is significant. If passed, the bill will cover, "Psychological services, doctor's visits, diagnosis, treatment, and behavioral health that's specific to help with the symptoms of autism."

As of now, thousands of families in North Carolina are paying for most of these services out of pocket. 

As for the chances of whether the Autism Insurance Bill will pass, advocates say they've already received verbal support from many state senators as well as Gov. Pat McCrory. 

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Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

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