Parents of Children with Autism Get Good News for Treatment Coverage

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Parents and families of children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) should be able to breathe a little easier now that two issues that may be soon resolved regarding certain treatments for autism.

In North Carolina, the Joint Study Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorder and Public Safety voted to forward a bill to the House and Senate that would end the exclusion of insurance coverage for autism treatments.

Nineteen states in the US have enacted autism insurance reform since 2007 and, with this action, North Carolina becomes the eleventh state to introduce autism insurance reform legislation.

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The Autism Society of North Carolina, in partnership with Autism Speaks, praised the committee’s efforts. “Today is a historic day in our state” said Dr. F. Whitney Jones, Autism Society of North Carolina Board Chair. “This legislation gives the thousands of NC families that who have been denied insurance coverage for their child hope for the future.”

The new federal health reform law will also benefit American families who deal with insurance restrictions on autism treatment. According to The Dallas Morning News, "The new federal regulations will prohibit spending caps, prevent insurers from excluding pre-existing conditions and behavioral health care, and extend dependent care to age 26. The rules are potentially good news for families struggling with costly treatments that can blur the line between medical and educational expenses and don't end with childhood."

Autism Spectrum Disorder includes autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. It is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects about 50,000 in North Carolina and 1.5 million people in the United States.

There is not currently a cure for autism, but individualized treatment, education, and support, children and adults with ASD can improve and develop skills that will allow them to live and participate in their community.

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