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Associated Press, Published October 26 2010

ND lawmakers say autism insurance bill needs more study

BISMARCK (AP) — Lawmakers say they're not ready to push the North Dakota Legislature to support mandatory insurance coverage for autism therapy.

On Tuesday, a legislative benefits committee declined to recommend a bill to require coverage. The Legislature is likely to take up the proposal anyway next year.

More than 20 states require insurance companies to pay for autism treatment, which can cost thousands of dollars a year.

Advocates for people with autism say it helps alleviate the condition. Autism is a brain disorder that affects a person's ability to relate to other people.

Fargo state Rep. Bette Grande is chairwoman of the committee. She says the bill's insurance coverage requirement is too broad and the subject needs more study.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.