|By Corinne Jurney, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Applied Behavior Analysis is the most commonly recommended treatment for people diagnosed with autism, and the legislation would require insurers to cover it, among other behavioral therapies, for up to
"This is not an alternative treatment; it is mainstream and evidence-based," Unumb said Tuesday at a news conference held as part of a lobbying effort at the legislature.
Amid concerns about implementing Affordable Care Act mandates, insurance companies are wary of additional mandates and contend the therapy is educational, not medical.
But parents of children with autism and medical professionals say the therapy is critical in improving the lives of people with autism.
An untreated child with autism will cost society
With the dramatic increase in diagnoses of autism in recent years, Marsch said the legislation makes sense in a cost-benefit analysis.
Two weeks ago, the N.C. State Health Plan decided to cover the behavioral therapy for state employees and their families, more than half a million people. The changes were loosely based on the bill, but the state plan increased the age cap to 26 and eliminated the age 8 diagnosis eligibility requirement. This includes people diagnosed with less severe autism which can manifest at middle-school age.
"The State Health Plan has led the way, and now the legislature needs to step up," Unumb said.
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