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Missouri lawmakers begin talks on autism insurance legislation

By AP/St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers are getting an early start on legislation that would require insurance companies to cover autism treatments for children.

Separate House and Senate committees are to hear testimony Tuesday on autism legislation. The hearings are among the first scheduled this session.

Last year, the Senate passed legislation that would have required group health insurance plans to cover up to $55,000 annually for a treatment known as "applied behavioral analysis" for children with autism younger than 15. But the House never voted on the legislation.

Both Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and Republican legislative leaders have said autism insurance legislation is a priority this year.