Autism groups lobby for therapy health coverage

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Autism advocates want the North Carolina Senate to sign off on a measure to require state-regulated insurance companies to cover therapy for autism.

The group gathered at the state Legislature on Tuesday to call on lawmakers to approve a bill to extend health insurance coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis, a treatment they and doctors say significantly improves autistic behaviors. The coverage would pay up to $36,000 for treatments for children who are diagnosed with autism by the time they turn 8 years old. The bill would allow small businesses to opt out, if their health insurance costs increased 1 percent or more.

The House passed the bill last year.

Thirty-seven other states have similar laws on health coverage for autism treatment.

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