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FOR AVONTE: SI assemblyman’s bill would mandate insurers cover GPS devices for children with autism

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Avonte Oquendo: The story that touched a city

The bill would mandate insurance companies cover the cost of GPS devices for children with autism.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) — After Avonte Oquendo’s disappearance, a Staten Island assemblyman has introduced new legislation that is aimed at preventing  a similar tragedy from happening to parents of children with autism.

Assemblyman Matthew Titone has designed a bill that would require insurance companies to offer GPS device tracking coverage for children with autism spectrum disorders.

Avonte, who did not speak, ran out of his Long Island City school last October. His remains were found last month in College Point.

“This happens because the children get distracted and do not harbor the same fears that typical children do,” Titone said in a press release. “A GPS device can be critical in helping law enforcement bring children with ASD home safely.”

RELATED: Chuck Schumer proposes ‘Avonte’s Law’ to fund tracking devices for children with autism

The federal bill named, Avonte’s Law, introduced by Senator Chuck Schumer, earmarks $10 million in funding for GPS devices, funding which could be eliminated by future budgets. The the new bill would mandate insurers cover the GPS devices. “The bill would ensure that any parent that wants a GPS device for their child could get it,” Titone told PIX11.

The bill already has the support of Senator Diane Savino. “It is unforunate that Avonte’s disappearance prompted this legislation, but it proves that the dangers of wandering for a child with ASD must be addressed immediately,” she said.

“This legislation will provide parents and caregivers of children with ASD the option of getting a tracking device without being concerned about the cost. Insurance companies would cover the costs for the equipment and monitoring services, making it easier for families to keep their children safe,” Titone said.

To read more about the bill, click here.

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