NJ governor to sign autism bill

August 13, 2009 5:20:41 AM PDT
New Jersey will become the 14th state to require expanded health insurance coverage for autism and other development disabilities Thursday. The Garden State has the nation's highest autism rate. A Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found 1 in 94 children in New Jersey have the genetic-based disorder, compared with 1 in 152 nationwide.

Legislation would require insurers to cover the cost of medically necessary treatments, such as physical, speech and occupational therapy, along with behavioral intervention.

Supporters of the measure say autistic children will receive therapy early in their lives that they'll need to live productive lives.

Opponents, while sympathetic, said it will drive up health care costs for small businesses.

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