This fall, I experienced one of the most momentous occasions of my life. Since the founding of ABC of NC, one major aspect of our mission has been working towards sustainable funding so that all families can access services for their loved ones on the autism spectrum. Over the years, we have relied on donors – like you – to help us provide financial assistance to families who otherwise would not be able to access services. But this year, we took major strides towards that sustainable funding. After eight long years of serving on autism study commissions, numerous conference calls with our autism organizational partners, and countless trips to Raleigh, on Thursday, October 15th, Governor McCrory signed the autism insurance bill into law, and North Carolina became the 43rd state to enact autism insurance legislation. The law will require private health insurance companies to cover intensive autism treatments like those offered at ABC of NC. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2016.
We are celebrating this major step forward! While the bill will help many families, it does not affect all North Carolinians. We will still rely on our generous donors to help us provide financial aid to families whose health insurance plans are not subject to this law (this includes families who work for small business and large self-insured companies and children who have Medicaid).
The passage of this important bill would not have been possible without the tremendous and unwavering support of our autism organizational partners, with special appreciation going out to: Lorri Unumb, Vice President of Government Affairs for Autism Speaks, who is also the parent of a child with autism; past and present ABC of NC board members, with special recognition of John Burress, Bev Moore, Darryl Marsch, and Felice and Richard Brenner; and our ABC of NC staff, who traveled by bus to Raleigh to help our children and families with self-advocacy efforts. Of course, want to send a special thanks to supporters, like you, who wrote your legislators to ask for their vote. These legislators, who overwhelmingly and with bipartisan support, passed this legislation.
But most importantly, we’d like to thank the families of the children we serve – many who traveled to Raleigh week after week after week–often with their children in tow–to advocate for individuals with autism. I have never been more inspired than the time I have spent working with this amazing group of autism advocates.
Thank you for being a part of our team!
Photos from an event earlier this month celebrating this momentous occasion: