Missouri hopes to join the ranks of states requiring autism coverage in health insurance

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Autism treatments may be paid by health insurance companies in Missouri

A bipartisan effort may result in Missouri becoming the 15th state to require health insurance companies to provide coverage for autism treatments.

If currently proposed legislation passes, the Show Me State would mandate autism coverage of up to $72,000 per year for individuals up to age 21. "We are very confident that by working together, we can get this bill to my desk," said Governor Jay Nixon to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Autism, a disorder that affects one in every 166 children, has personal significance for many Jefferson City lawmakers. State Senator Eric Schmitt, a Glendale Republican, has a 5-year-old son with an autism spectrum disorder. Republican Scott Rupp, a Republican state senator from Wentzville, has dealt with autism in his family, too.

A measure to mandate autism coverage was killed last year in Missouri's House of Representatives because of insurance industry pressure. Calvin Call, executive director of the Missouri Insurance Coalition, promised to "try and improve [the Senate bill] and make it workable."

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Posted: December 4, 2009

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