KCUR News
7:16 pm
Thu December 3, 2009

Mo. Governor, Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Again Mandating Autism Insurance Coverage

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and several lawmakers from both parties are backing legislation next year to provide insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

The legislation would also require state-regulated group insurance plans to cover the costs of "Applied Behavioral Analysis" for up to $72,000 annually for children younger than 21 with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

GOP Senator Eric Schmidt of St. Louis County has a son with autism.

"I have seen, firsthand, the great challenges that these children and their families face, and how critical it is that we have services that they can receive," he said.

Opponents say, though, that mandating insurance coverage would hurt small businesses.

Similar legislation last year passed the Missouri Senate but failed in the House.