Missouri legislative panels to hear autism bill

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | 10:01 a.m. CST; updated 8:44 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 23, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri lawmakers are getting an early start on legislation that would require insurance companies to cover autism treatments for children.

Separate House and Senate committees are to hear testimony Tuesday on autism legislation. The hearings are among the first scheduled during the 2010 session.

Last year, the Senate passed legislation that would have required group health insurance plans to cover up to $55,000 annually for a treatment known as "applied behavioral analysis" for autistic children younger than 15. But the House never voted on the legislation.

Gov. Jay Nixon and legislative leaders each have said autism insurance legislation is a priority for the 2010 session.

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