Family moves after Nick's Law dies

Tuesday, May 27th 2008, 5:01 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

An Oklahoma family is leaving the state after legislators failed to pass a bill that would have forced health insurance companies to cover autism treatments.

Caroline Hall said her family is moving after the state legislature let Nick's Law die, and other families are considering moving also.

"We just can no longer drain our bank accounts and use all the money that we were saving for our own retirement," Hall said. "We're leaving to go to an autism friendly state."

The Hall family's moving to Ohio, where Dougie, who has autism, can take advantage of a special scholarship program. The Ohio Department of Education provides families with up to $20,000 a year to put toward private schools or autism therapies.

"We will take our tax dollars to a state where we can get something in return for them," Hall said.

The Halls aren't the only family considering a move.

Wayne Rohde, whose son Nick is the law's namesake, said he and other parents plan to continue fighting to force insurance companies to cover autism.

"I know a couple of families who are seriously looking at going to South Carolina or Texas, depending on the age of the child," Rohde said.

According to the Hall family, they're not waiting.

"To even think that the state where I grew up and I love so much doesn't have the heart to take care of its most valuable citizens hurts me," Hall said.

The Hall family said the only other option would be to quit their jobs and go on welfare. They said Medicaid would pay for the autism treatments their son needs. Private health insurance refuses to cover those treatments.

Nick's Law supporters said 18 states have passed similar laws, so far.