A bill that would mandate insurance companies pay for behavioral treatment for autism failed to pass the legislature last session. A renewed attempt for the upcoming session is in the works.
Currently, insurance companies do not have to cover Applied Behavioral Analysis Thereapy — ABA — for children with autism. A bill prefiled by Representative Dwight Scharnhorst of Manchester would change that.
The insurance lobby spoke out against the measure. Sharnhorst says the therapy is more effective than opponents of the measure say it is.
Sharnhorst has the backing of House Speaker Ron Richard this time around.
Governor Nixon and interim committees have been working on crafting legislation that works for everyone ever since last year’s measure failed.
The bill passed the Senate 29 to 2 last year but never made it to the House floor for debate. House Speaker Ron Richard says this year, he’ll get it on the calendar early and make the legislation a priority.
Richard announced the initiative one day before Nixon and legislative sponsors tour the state to detail autism-coverage legislation. Nixon will talk on the issue in Jefferson City, Springfield, St. Louis on Thursday.