House approves autism insurance mandate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri House members have voted overwhelmingly to require health insurance plans to cover treatment for autism.

House members voted 135-18 on Thursday to require group insurance policies regulated by the state to cover up to $36,000 annually of behavioral therapy for autistic children age 18 and younger. Senators have given initial approval to legislation that would cover even more treatment.

Republican and Democratic supporters lined up to praise the idea in the House. Last year, a similar measure never came to a vote in the House.

House member Jeff Grisamore, a Republican from Lee's Summit, says requiring insurers to cover autism is about fairness and eliminating discrimination.