From O&P Business News, Online Exclusive
April 15, 2008
In the face of drastically reduced health insurance coverage for prosthetic care, the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA), a national non-profit educational and advocacy organization representing amputees, is calling for federal legislation requiring health insurance companies to cover prosthetic care on par with other essential medical care.
A bill creating the Prosthetic Parity Act, HR 5615, has been introduced in the House. The bill was authored by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), with Reps. George Miller (D-CA), Todd Platts (R-PA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) signing on as original co-sponsors.
“The introduction in the House of Representatives of the Prosthetic Parity Act is a tremendous positive development. Many of the two million amputees in the United States are deprived of meaningful coverage for prosthetic care by their health insurers, which potentially places a greater burden on society. This proposed legislation would require health insurers to cover prosthetic care on par with their coverage of other essential medical care,” said Paddy Rossbach, president and chief executive officer of the ACA.
“Increasingly we’ve seen health insurers drastically limit coverage for prosthetic care by imposing unrealistically low dollar caps and restrictions, even limiting coverage to one prosthesis per lifetime,” Rossbach added. “Federal legislation is needed to close the insurance coverage gap.”
There are an estimated two million individuals living with limb differences or loss in the United States, including 70,000 under the age of 18.
According to a recent poll by the ACA, among respondents with private health insurance, 24% had experienced a reduction in prosthetic coverage over the past three years. Four percent had their coverage eliminated entirely.
“For less than 25 cents per month in health insurance premiums, amputees will get the care they need to get back to work and live independent, productive lives. The cost to the health care system if this is not done far exceeds that of providing prosthetic care, and places a huge burden on society,” Rossbach concluded.