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Is ABA Therapy Covered By Insurance In North Carolina?

Yes, ABA therapy can be covered by insurers in North Carolina, either privately or through plans regulated by the state itself.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
September 15, 2023
min read

Is ABA Therapy Covered By Insurance In North Carolina?

Yes, ABA therapy can be covered by insurers in North Carolina, either privately or through plans regulated by the state itself.

North Carolina signed into law SB 676 in late 2015, which became active in the third quarter of 2016. It's a state autism insurance stipulation that covers individual grandfathered plans.

Grandfathered plans are insurance plans that were around before the first quarter of 2010 and have remained unchanged. Any existing coverage that someone had would be eligible for coverage under the state's newest law.

The plan also fully insured large group plans under autism coverage.

It also fully insures small group plans which are grandfathered. Non-grandfathered plans that are fully insured will have no state coverage.

As for ABA treatment, the state authorizes only specific licensed practitioners to give services to residents. At the beginning of 2020, a provision was passed mandating that Board Certified Behavior Technicians, or BCBAs undergo further licensing in the state, which has led to a smaller number of behavior therapists legally able to work.

As a result, finding therapists could be harder for some, especially residents in the state that don't live in an area where multiple ABA centers are nearby. Fewer BCBA has also caused scarcity for children and adults needing psychiatric care, speech therapy, physical therapy, psychological care, pharmacy care, and occupational therapy.

North Carolina limits the amount of coverage given to people through their state insurance plan. Individual behavioral treatment, it's limited to people 18 years and younger, with a cap of $40,000 annually.

Is ABA Therapy Covered By Medicaid In North Carolina?

By federal mandate, North Carolina and all other states in the US are required to cover the costs of therapy that are needed for people younger than 21 years old. This is done through Medicaid.

This law applies even if the services given by patients aren't covered by people older than 18 with North Carolina's State Medical Plan, so long as what's done is needed.

As of now, autism treatment for young people is considered a medical necessity.

ABA therapy and autism are frequently mentioned together, specifically as a means of treating autism itself. However, there are alternative treatments that are recognized and suggested by physicians and psychiatrists.

In the state of North Carolina, one of these treatment plans was created by the TEACCH organization. As autism's symptoms and treatment plans can vary widely per individual, an alternative treatment method could be more impactful than ABA therapy, at least in some cases.

Will Insurance Cover ABA For ADHD In North Carolina?

Some insurance providers could partially or fully cover ABA treatment for people with ADHD in the state. However, going about this may produce different results per person or family.

There's no national requirement for healthcare providers to cover ABA for ADHD individuals, unfortunately. However, this could change in the future. But for now, people seeking ABA treatment without an autism diagnosis are encouraged to get an official recommendation from a doctor showing why ABA treatment is in the best interests of their patient.

Some insurers may cover some of the costs this way. In rare cases, full coverage might be granted, but unlikely. Parents or older people diagnosed with ADHD could receive partial coverage through grants as well.

Insurance Providers That Cover Applied Behavior Analysis In North Carolina

The following are insurers that will cover ABA therapy in the state:

  • State Regulated Insurance - Also known as the North Carolina State Regulated Insurance Plan, it requires that providers give treatment in the state, including care that's psychiatric, psychological, or pharmaceutical. Some limitations come with it, however, since ABA is capped to people 18 and younger and with a $40,000 ceiling.
  • Health Benefits that are Self-Funded - These are regulated by the federal government, not North Carolina. They don't have to abide by any local stipulations set out by the government. About 45% of organizations harboring over 500 workers give ABA treatment. Unfortunately, the others don't. For people with healthcare plans where ABA isn't covered, they could potentially choose another benefit plan that will. A full healthcare insurance plan is should be considered too.
  • Medicaid - The amount of Medicaid coverage someone receives is based on their level of income. However, some state income isn't used to determine coverage, typically done for a specific diagnosis, whereby autism is one of them. Necessary healthcare services are determined by the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment listed under Medicaid also called the EPSDT.
  • Health Benefits Programs for Federal Employees - This is healthcare coverage for federal workers and dependents. Plans are required to cover ABA therapy treatments, including federal workers living in North Carolina.
  • Tricare - Tricare is for military service members and families in the service. Full coverage is provided by Tricare for ABA therapy.
steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

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