Legislature passes autism bill

Associated PressApril 15, 2012 

JUNEAU -- The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that would extend insurance coverage to some children for treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

SB74 passed the House 36-3 on Sunday. The Senate later agreed to the House changes.

The measure would require insurance coverage for medically necessary treatments for autism, like speech and physical therapies.

Some insurance companies opposed SB74, calling it unfair to put the burden on private companies alone. An amendment that would have had the state comply with the coverage requirements was withdrawn on the House floor.

Supporters see the bill as a way to help children while also easing the financial and emotional strain that families now face in getting treatments for autistic children.

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