Maine Senate backs expanding autism coverage

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Senate has endorsed a measure that would allow more children to receive private insurance coverage to treat autism.

Current Maine law mandates that insurance companies provide coverage for treatment of autism spectrum disorder only for children ages 5 and under. The measure would raise that to age 10.

Supporters say some Maine children are being prevented from getting proper treatment or are forced onto Medicaid, which does cover treatment.

Under the original bill, the covered age would have risen to 21. Maine's Bureau of Insurance said that would result in higher monthly premiums of nearly $1.50 per person. The amended measure would likely mean a smaller premium increase.

The bill introduced by Democratic Sen. Colleen Lachowicz of Waterville faces further votes in the House and Senate.

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