Autism insurance mandate passes in Missouri

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | 12:14 p.m. CDT; updated 12:24 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 12, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY — Some Missouri families with autistic children soon could receive insurance coverage for behavioral therapies that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Legislators gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would require group insurance policies regulated by the state to cover up to $40,000 annually of intensive therapy for autistic children through age 18.

The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, who made it a priority for the legislative session.

The insurance mandate would begin Jan. 1. It would apply to about one-fourth of Missouri's population — mainly those receiving health insurance from small- to medium-sized employers.

Large employers who insure themselves are federally regulated. People with individual insurance policies would have an option — not a requirement — to buy autism coverage.


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