FL gov. signs bill mandating autism coverage

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) has signed a bill that could force the state's health plans to cover a range of services related to autism treatment. The new law requires the state's health plans to negotiate deals with the state on how they will cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism-related disorders. If the plans don't enter into such an agreement, the state will require certain coverages by July of 2009, capped at $36,000 per year or $200,000 over the lifetime of the policy. The measure, however, only applies to large groups, not individual policies or small employers. Because of this limitation, it's expected that the bill will serve only one-half of the people with insurance who might have benefited from such coverage, according to the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Steve Geller.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this Associated Press article