It’s so close he can almost feel it. A state senator who has tried for three years to force insurance companies to provide treatment for autism disorders thinks it’s about to happen.

It’s been three years since Sen. Scott Rupp of Wentzville chaired a special blue ribbon committee on autism that started the effort to get insurance coverage mandated for people with the disorder. Although the legislation was listed as a high priority for both the House and the Senate in January, we’re down to the last four days of the legislative session without a bill.

But the House and the Senate have approved separate versions of the idea and Rupp thinks differences have been resolved. He says he’s 95 percent sure a compromise bill can be passed. Rupp says there’s no doubt he members of both chambers are solidly behind a compromise proposal. But he says the key is getting the leaders of both chambers to give the issue an up or down vote.

The biggest issues that had to be worked out between the House and the Senate were how long the coverage would be provided and the maximum amount per year insurance companies would be expected to pay for coverage.

Rupp says the latest financial analysis of the program indicate employers providing health insurance for their workers should bee their premiums go up only about one-quarter of a percent if they add autism coverage.

 Listen to Bob Priddy’s story :59 mp3