NC autism coverage mandate heading to House floor

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An effort to require North Carolina-regulated health insurance plans to cover autism diagnosis and treatment has cleared what appears to be one of its final hurdles with a House panel’s passage.

The House Insurance Committee voted Tuesday to recommend to the full House a Senate bill negotiated by several advocacy groups and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

The bill does allow some treatment limits. Insurers can halt coverage at age 18 and set a coverage ceiling of $40,000 per year.

The national group Autism Speaks had held out for the new measure to contain protections on the level of mental health coverage. A group spokeswoman said it will keep working for the mental health parity for autism coverage but called the bill a positive incremental step.

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