Progress on Parity: A Look Back, A Look Ahead

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By Dan Ignaszewski

In 2009, states nationwide stood up and said that insurance companies should cover prosthetics and orthotics so that the limb-loss community has access to the care they deserve for the premiums they've paid to their insurance companies. Thanks to tireless advocates, 2010 begins with 18 states that have passed fair insurance access for the limb-loss community: Arkansas, Iowa, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, California, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oregon, New Jersey, Indiana, Vermont, and Louisiana. The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) is continuing the push for every other state to enact parity laws. Several states have already reintroduced bills in the 2010 sessions, and more are on the way.

National Healthcare Reform
The ACA has also been working with industry partners and activists on federal healthcare-reform efforts. The ACA and the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) have collaborated on initiatives to include fair access to O&P in the healthcare-reform bills. We helped include language in the basic-benefits sets that specify "prosthetic and orthotic devices" in the House, and "devices" in the Senate. The ACA and AOPA are continuing to meet with congresspersons to advocate that the more specific House language be included in the final reforms.

Goals for 2010
Our goals for 2010 are to continue our efforts at the state level to bring about fair insurance access to prosthetics and orthotics, and to build relationships with congressional leaders to advance and support initiatives in support of the amputee community. In order to provide fair O&P coverage to everyone, the ACA is continuing our push for the Prosthetic and Customized Orthotic Parity Act of 2009 (HR 2575), working to reintroduce the bill in the Senate and working with both House and Senate sponsors to gain support.

We are also working on several other federal initiatives in 2010, including designating a national limb-loss awareness month, improving airport security standards for amputees, and creating a national limb-loss registry to gain information so we can meet the needs of the limb-loss community.

We are looking forward to advancing fair-insurance legislation as well as these federal initiatives in 2010 and beyond.

Dan Ignaszewski is the government-relations specialist for the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA). To get involved in your state's parity efforts, contact . To find out more about the ACA's congressional initiative, e-mail