Lawmakers vote to mandate autism coverage

ALBANY - (AP) - New York lawmakers have approved legislationto require health insurance companies to provide coverage forscreening, diagnosis and lifetime treatment of autism spectrumdisorders.

Citing a federal Centers for Disease Control estimate that oneout of 110 children is diagnosed with the disorder, sponsors saythe measure could increase overall health insurance premiums by asmuch as 2 percent in New York. The state would join 20 others thatalready require coverage.

Affected children struggle with social interaction andcommunication, ranging from mild to severe symptoms.

Under the bill, which still needs Gov. David Paterson'ssignature, state health officials will identify minimum coverageoptions for clinically proven treatment and therapy.

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