A number of families met to express support for the Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children scholarship program on Monday, March 7. Olga Lasinska and Jeff Davis provided an update from Palmetto Kids FIRST regarding the status of permanent legislation and the budget proviso. Rep. Henderson and Sen. Bright attended this forum to hear stories about the impact of these scholarships.
Mark Knight joined Lorri Unumb, Vice President of State Government Affairs for Autism Speaks, informing the Healthcare Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee about the need for funding for ABA therapy.
A Senate hearing will be held at 11:00 on February 18 regarding a bill to strengthen Ryan’s Law, a landmark statute passed in 2007. Ryan’s Law opened the door for insurance coverage for autism treatment, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.
The Ryan’s Law Amendment Bill, filed this year, will make coverage available to small group and individual health plans, groups that were excluded in 2007. Additionally the amendment would eliminate the current restrictions that a diagnosis must occur by age 8, that coverage ends at age 16, and that behavioral health treatment is capped at $50,000 annually.
Lorri Unumb, the attorney and mom of a son with autism who wrote the original bill, is inviting supporters to come to Wednesday’s hearing dressed in red. She is also seeking statements of support for the bill from small business owners.
Data shows that the cost of providing ABA coverage in South Carolina only increased premiums by thirty-eight cents per month per premium holder.
The amendment bill is sponsored by Senator Ray Cleary and co-sponsored by Senator Campbell and Senator Verdin