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Maine Lawmakers Say 'Yes' To Kids With Autism

AUGUSTA (May 1, 2014) -- The Maine Legislature voted overwhelmingly to override Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill that will expand benefits under the state's 2010 autism insurance law from age 5 through age 10. The new law takes effect January 1, 2015.

The Senate voted 30-5 to override the veto then sent the bill, LD.347, to the House which followed suit by a vote of 115-32. LePage had vetoed the bill, one of 30 he rejected, over objections to its impact on premiums and state expenditures.

Autism Speaks Director of State Government Affairs Judith Ursitti (center) celebrates the vote with Heidi and Kevin Bowen of the Maine Autism Alliance 

The Legislature's votes easily surpassed the two-thirds supermajority required to override the veto. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec).

Maine now joins 10 other states that have expanded their original autism insurance reform laws, including Vermont, Texas and Louisiana which all raised the age caps. The other state expansion bills were all signed by their Governors.

Maine's law requires individual, and large and small group plans in the fully funded market to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Treatment includes psychiatric and psychological counseling; speech, occupational and physical therapy; and habilitative therapy, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA coverage is capped at $36,000 per year.