On Monday, April 25, 2011 Capital One Financial Corporation held its 2011 Autism Awareness Education Session for its associates at its Richmond facility and broadcast to its offices nationwide. Don Busick and Nick Sladic, two Capital One associates who founded the associate affinity group called the Autism Spectrum Connection, kicked off the presentation by explaining how they formed the group at Capital One as a part of its corporate diversity program. A handful of Autism spectrum disorder parents got together informally at first, Don explained, and proved to be the best resource for each other. In partnership with the company’s HR team, they founded the group with three goals in mind: to create deeper connection for the families through membership; to provide as much useful and helpful information as possible; and, in the spirit of Capital One, to give back to the communities where they are doing business.
Judith Ursitti, Autism Speaks’ Regional Director for State Advocacy Relations, spoke on the autism insurance reform movement. She was joined on the panel by Virginia State Senator Janet Howell and Delegate Tag Greason, who were patrons of the Virginia autism insurance reform bill, which will become law at midnight on May 6, 2011. Robbie Maino, a college-bound high school senior who is the child of a Capital One associate, spoke movingly about how early intervention made a world of difference in his overcoming the difficulties he faced in his own struggles of autism.
In addition to providing information and support to its associates, Capital One has taken the step of electing to provide coverage for autism related behavioral therapies through their insurance carrier.
Rob “RJ” Paczkowski, Capital One’s Director of Health and Wellness, gave an overview of their autism health insurance benefit. Beginning January 2010 Capital One provided health insurance coverage for behavioral therapy for autism and other related disorders, with no dollar or age caps, as long as the treatment was pre-certified and provided under the supervision of a board-certified behavior analyst.
In addition to insurance coverage, Capital One associates can take advantage of flexible spending accounts to pay for alternative treatments or over-the-counter medications and supplements as long as they present a doctor’s letter of medical necessity. Capital One also worked with their Employee Assistance Plan to help organize special services and resources for special needs children and to connect its associates with government benefits available to disabled dependents which are based on the individual’s needs, not the parents’ income. Stephen Evanko and several other Capital One associates closed the session by sharing how the autism health insurance benefit made a difference in their children’s lives.