Missouri House gives preliminary approval to mandate autism insurance coverage
MDN Menu
MDN.ORG Mo. Digital News Missouri Digital News MDN.ORG: Mo. Digital News MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News

Missouri House gives preliminary approval to mandate autism insurance coverage

Date: February 16, 2010
By: Max Reiss
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HB 1311, HB 1341

Intro:  They didn't quite go all night, but Missouri House members worked through the Tuesday evening hours to pass a measure requiring insurance companies to cover some autism treatments.
RunTime:  0:39
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: At about 9 o'clock Tuesday night, the Missouri House gave initial approval to bill that would mandate insurance companies cover at least some autism treatments.

Bill sponsor Republican Dwight Scharnhorst said Tuesday night was a big step forward.

Actuality:  SCHARN1.WAV
Run Time:  00:08
Description: "It is a big bill. It may seem, you know, incrementally small to some. But we had to get started and tonight. . . demonstrates that Missouri is committed."

As it stands now, the House version would cover up to $36,000 in therapy for those with autism 18 and under.

According to Scharnhorst, this bill would extend insurance coverage to a little less than 30% of Missourians with autism.

From the Missouri House, I'm Max Reiss, Newsradio 1120 KMOX.

Intro:  House members Tuesday night decided that now is the time for insurance companies to start covering autism treatments.
RunTime:  0:43
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The voice vote sealed it.

Actuality:  AUTVO1.WAV
Run Time:  00:07
Description: "All those in favor say 'Aye'. . . all those opposed, 'No.'"

Missouri Representatives approved a mandate on insurance companies to cover some autism treatments.

Republican Kevin Wilson helped move the measure through the committee stage.

Actuality:  KWILSON1.WAV
Run Time:  00:06
Description: "I think I'm happy with it. The only thing I'm concerned about is the small businesses. The impact it's going to have."

House members approved an opt-out amendment for small businesses Tuesday night.

If small businesses prove to the state insurance department that their employees' insurance premiums went up because of the autism requirement, then they don't have to comply.

From the Missouri House, I'm Max Reiss, Newsradio 1120 KMOX.

Intro:  Just less than a year after Missouri House leadership didn't let an autism healthcare coverage bill reach the House floor, lawmakers gave the go-ahead to a similar measure Tuesday night.
RunTime:  0:38
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: If the House version becomes law then state regulated insurance policies have to cover those with autism 18 years of age and younger for up to $36,000 dollars in treatment.

Bill sponsor Republican Dwight Scharnhorst said the effort to to pass the bill was strong and delicate.

Actuality:  SCHARN2.WAV
Run Time:  00:10
Description: "We all got together on it. Nobody, nobody ran the ball into the goal without help. And I just feel like we all paid proper respect to each other to get this where it is today."

The bill needs one more vote before it moves to the Senate.

Last year, a senate approved autism coverage bill stalled when it reached the House.

From the state Capitol, I'm Max Reiss, Newsradio 1120 KMOX.


Missouri Digital News is produced by Missouri Digital News, Inc. -- a non profit organization of current and former journalists.