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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Insurance Mandate Bills in Missouri and Kansas

In Missouri:

In Kansas:

Parents of autistic children on Thursday cheered Senate approval of a bill that could set the stage for requiring insurance plans in the state to cover autism treatments.

The push for the legislation approved unanimously by the Senate on Thursday began three years ago.

Mike Wasmer set out to improve life for autistic children after navigating the difficult road to helping his daughter, Kate.

At age 2, Wasmer said, his daughter didn't interact socially. Now 10, Kate earns A's in school, has a group of friends and doesn't need expensive interventions.

But along the way, Wasmer said his family was denied coverage of speech, applied behavior analysis therapy and occupational therapy. Luckily, he said, the family could make the out-of-pocket payments that could reach $40,000. Most people, he knows, can't afford the cost.

"We're obviously thrilled," said Wasmer, who founded the Kansas Coalition for Autism Legislation. "This is a huge step for us."

The bill (Sub for House Bill 2160) now moves to the House. It also would require coverage of cancer drugs that are administered orally rather than intravenously. Sen. Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican and cancer survivor, asked for the Senate to add the requirement.