Missouri Statehouse
3:54 pm
Thu March 18, 2010

Missouri Senate Passes Autism Bill

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has passed legislation requiring group insurance plans regulated by the state to cover autism treatment.

The Senate bill would mandate that companies cover up to $55,000 a year for treatment of autism patients younger than 21.

GOP Senator Scott Rupp of St. Charles County sponsored the legislation.

"We're doing our job in the state, the families are doing their job, the schools are doing their job," Rupp told lawmakers. "When, insurance industry, are you going to start doing yours?!?"

Rupp argued that the rise in insurance costs would be minimal, and that the state would save money in the long term.

Six senators voted "no," saying the cost would be too much for many small business owners.

The House has already approved a similar autism bill, but it would only provide up to $36,000 dollars a year in coverage. The Senate and House have to agree on a final version of the legislation before sending it to Governor Nixon.