When my wife, Misti, and I returned home from “The Amazing Race” in 2014, people would often ask if it was the hardest thing we have ever done. I typically said, “It was physically challenging” while I thought: “Are you crazy? I have a child with autism. Just getting my son ready for school is as difficult as any challenge we faced, and I have to do it every day.”
My Christian faith tells me that Jimmy was created perfectly in God’s eyes. But as a parent, I would give anything to remove the burden of autism from his life. While that is not possible, I find solace in the fact that we are getting Jimmy the best therapy available. But while we have excellent health insurance, our small-group policy does not cover autism therapies. There are no insurers in South Carolina that offer a small-group product that includes appropriate autism benefits, including coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis, and under state law, they are not required to do so.
I am proud to be from South Carolina, which passed a law requiring the state employees’ health plan to cover this therapy, blazing the path that 44 other states would follow. With one in 68 children being born with autism, now it is time to do more. I urge the General Assembly to pass House bill 3747, which would require autism benefits in small-group and individual health plans.