Rep. Joseph Gibbons (D-FL) introduced HB 5, “Health Insurance,” in the Florida House of Representatives. Slated to take effect July 1, 2011, the bill would provide insurance coverage for state residents who need prosthetic limbs. According to the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA), another 15 states are expected to introduce prosthetic parity bills in 2011. Nineteen states have passed similar laws.
The measure requires “individual accident or health insurance policies; group, blanket, or franchise accident or health insurance policies; and health maintenance contracts to provide specified coverage for orthoses, prostheses, orthotics, & prosthetics benefits; [specify] deductible and copayment requirements; [authorize] insurers and HMOs to specify benefits limitations; [and provide] for nonapplication to specified policy and contract coverages,” according to the Florida House of Representatives website (www.myfloridahouse.gov).
“With 2 million Americans now living with limb loss, we applaud Representative Gibbons for taking this aggressive first step for the limb loss community in Florida to obtain fair access to the care they need and deserve,” said Kendra Calhoun, president and CEO of the ACA. “No one would say you can only have $2,500 a year for a knee replacement or $5,000 for a heart stint, and you certainly wouldn’t suggest someone can only have one heart attack per lifetime, but these are some of the common caps and restrictions that are placed on prosthetic devices. We ask all Floridians to contact their representatives to support passage of this crucial legislation, which will enable people with limb loss to reach their full potential.”
William Moses, the ACA’s lead advocate in Florida, said, “Denying and severely limiting coverage for prosthetic devices has a devastating impact for individuals in need of this care to facilitate their recovery and restore their ability to function and live as independently as possible. These benefits are no less important than antibiotics to a person with an infection, open heart surgery to an individual with coronary artery disease, or setting a limb that has been broken…. Prosthetic limbs are essential items that enable people with limb loss to function as working, tax-paying citizens.”