Governor Nixon Signs Autism Legislation

(from KMIZ, ABC 17 -June 10, 2010)

Governor Nixon signed a bill into law Thursday (June 10) that requires insurance companies to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism.

The new law requires up to $40,000 in coverage for a therapy called Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA, until kids turn 18 years old.  Supporters of the bill say the therapy is crucial in helping children with Autism or related disorders.

“Thousands of families in Missouri will no longer face the agonizing decision to sacrifice financial well-being in order to get this vital treatment for their children,” Gov. Nixon said.  “These legislators and I are here today with a message to those families.  Things in the Show Me State are going to change; this is a turning point.”

The bill also says insurance providers cannot refuse to renew or restrict coverage only because a dependent is diagnosed with Autism.  The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2011.

The Governor, lawmakers and families affected by Autism attended the bill-signing at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment Disorders in Columbia.

Missouri is now the 21st state with a similar law.

Autism affects an estimated one in 110 children nationwide.

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