UPDATE 2/8/11 @ 10:50 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- An ongoing campaign to insure West Virginia children with autism has cleared another legislative hurdle.
The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee endorsed a bill Tuesday that would mandate coverage by private group insurance plans and the Public Employees Insurance Agency.
The Senate bill does not cap benefits as the House Finance Committee did last week in its version. That version would limit therapy coverage to $30,000 annually for children ages 3 through 6, and to $1,000 per month for ages 7 to 18.
Supporters of extending coverage favor the Senate bill's approach. Insurers question the resulting costs.
At least 23 states require coverage, though most cap benefits. West Virginia counted 1,230 students with autism in its public schools last year.
Thursday, the West Virginia House of Delegates introduced a bill that would require health insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders.
The bill sets the types of coverage required and requires medical services to be provided.
A similar bill has been introduced the past two years, but failed to pass.