Prosthetic Parity Campaigns Sweep the Nation

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With all of the state legislative sessions meeting and Congress in full swing, it is a very busy time of year. More than 16 state legislatures are working to advance some type of legislation to expand coverage for prosthetic devices and components. This is truly beyond our wildest dreams.

North Dakota recently introduced a prosthetic coverage bill for the first time. The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) is also pushing for the passage of parity legislation in many states that considered it last year, including Utah, Maryland, Virginia, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Michigan, Alabama, Missouri, and Connecticut.

Tennessee has a bill in the House and Senate that requires its state health insurance plan, TennCare, to provide a consistent standard of coverage for prosthetic devices. We are working to expand this bill to cover all state-regulated insurance companies.

In an interesting turn of events, Maine is looking to expand its existing law. In 2004, Maine passed a bill that includes an exemption for microprocessors. The ACA was asked to make the case for the expansion of coverage. We are now working with local activists and partner groups, including the Disability Rights Center, to push for full consideration of this issue during Maine's upcoming emergency session.

The ACA is also looking to confirm the introduction of parity legislation in Illinois, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Arkansas. Nebraska, North Dakota, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, and Utah have already held hearings. We will continue to follow their progress, provide supporting materials, and mobilize our activists to keep these bills moving.

Thousands of amputees across the country go without the care they need because of the restrictions on prosthetic care. The ACA is committed to doing everything it can to build on our progress in shaping benefit policies at the state level. We are thankful for the continued dedication of our activists and look forward to celebrating continued success!

Morgan Sheets is the national advocacy director for the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA). To get involved in your states parity efforts, e-mail: state@amputee-coalition.org . To find out more about the ACAs Congressional initiative, e-mail: federal@amputee-coalition.org

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