March 17, 2008

A bill creating the Prosthetic Parity Act, HR 5615, has been introduced in the House, earning praise from the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA), a national non-profit educational and advocacy organization that has issued strong calls for federal legislation requiring health insurance companies to cover prosthetic care on par with other essential medical care.

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. Andrews chairs the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee and Miller chairs the Education and Labor Committee while also serving on the Natural Resources Committee

“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 US 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,” says Paddy Rossbach, president and CEO 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 says.

“A solution to this problem is federal legislation requiring health insurers to provide meaningful coverage for prosthetic care and eliminate any distinctions between prosthetic care and other essential medical care covered by their policies,” Rossbach says.

“Federal legislation is needed to close the insurance coverage gap,” she adds.

"Individuals who have undergone an amputation of an arm, leg, hand or foot, and children born with limb loss or difference, face many obstacles in their recovery and in their daily routines. Not being able to pay for limb replacement needed to attend school,  return to work and lead independent, productive lives shouldn’t be among them," Rossbach says.

Source: Amputee Coalition of America