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Gov. Proposes Autism Coverage In State Health Plan

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A government survey of parents says 1 in 50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism, surpassing another federal estimate for the disorder. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Autism Speaks)

A government survey of parents says 1 in 50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism, surpassing another federal estimate for the disorder. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Autism Speaks)

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ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Nathan Deal is proposing the state employee health plan cover treatment of autism, a move applauded by advocates who say early intervention can improve behavior and quality of life.

The governor’s budget proposal released this week includes $2.4 million for the coverage, which would begin next January. Deal is also proposing about $853,000 to provide hearing aids for children under the state plan.

A group of lawmakers have been pushing bills to compel insurers in the state to provide the coverage. Reps. Ben Harbin of Evans and Ed Lindsey of Atlanta say they’re grateful for the governor’s proposal and hope it will help their bills pass the General Assembly this year.

Harbin says Georgia is one of only 16 states that don’t require insurers to pay for autism treatment.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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