CHICAGO
12/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

New Law Mandates Coverage For Autism Therapy

Insurance companies would be required to cover autism diagnosis and treatment up to $36,000 a year under legislation sent to the governor Thursday.

The action marks a victory for advocates who say early intervention and therapy is key to helping children with autism gain communication and social skills.

Under the proposal, which Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office said he plans to sign, insurance companies would be required to cover treatment until a patient turns 21. About 4,500 families across the state will qualify for coverage.

Lawmakers said it's needed for families struggling with the emotional and financial tolls of autism.

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