Monday, July 28, 2008
Many of you are acquainted with Lorri Unumb, who has directed LRW programs at George Washington and at Charleston. When their son Ryan was diagnosed with autism five years ago, she and her husband Dan quickly learned that medical insurance does not cover most costs of treatment for autistic children, even though most policies do not contain a specific exclusion. This link to a story on CNN tells how Lorri "wrote a bill, recruited other parents to help her lobby state legislators, and two years later, got the bill passed." The bill was scheduled to go into effect as "Ryan's Law" in July. According to CNN, "Ryan's Law mandates that insurance companies provide up to $50,000 a year for behavioral therapy up to the age of 16. It also prohibits insurers from refusing other medical care to children because of their autism. It doesn't, however, apply to people or companies who are self-insured, such as the Unumbs."
Similar laws have already been passed in Texas and Indiana, and campaigns to do the same in other states have the support of the advocacy group Autism Speaks. Congratulations to Lorri for her leadership in getting the South Carolina legislature to act. This kind of advocacy makes a difference.