SUNSET PARK — A consumer advocate group based in Santa Monica has accused California regulators of violating mental health and other laws by allowing health insurers to deny certain treatments for children with autism.

Consumer Watchdog, which monitors insurance practices, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

It asks a judge to order the Department of Managed Health Care to require insurers to provide autistic children with certain services ordered by their doctors.

The legal dispute centers around expensive autism therapies and whether a 1999 law requires insurers to pay for them.

The department says it is holding health plans accountable and insurers say they are following the law and reimbursing policyholder for most autism care.

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