Gov. Jack Markell (D-Del.) signed House Bill 76 to make Delaware the 20th state to enact prosthetic parity legislation. The law puts orthotics and prosthetics on par with other medical benefits. Gov. Markell was joined by legislators, advocates and amputees at the headquarters of Easter Seals Delaware, the home of the Amputee Support Group of Delaware.
“Community members asked lawmakers to imagine the daily challenges posed by losing one or more limbs,” Gov. Markell said in a press release. “Advocates challenged us to make clear to insurers that arms and legs are not merely a convenience. That challenge has become law. Prosthetics enable people who have lost limbs to more fully participate in society and reduce the obstacles they face in earning a living.”
Now known as the Insurance Fairness for Amputees Act, the law requires all health insurance policies to provide orthotic and prosthetic devices at a reimbursement rate equal to the federal reimbursement rate for Medicare and Medicaid. Previously, coverage varied widely among insurers with some policies limiting individuals – including growing children-to one prosthetic for their lifetime.
Rep. Gerald Brady (D-Del.) noted that there have been many scientific and technological advances in prosthetic devices, and limiting amputees to one prosthetic hurts their quality of life.
“Prosthetics wear and age,” Rep. Brady stated in a press release. “They need to be replaced from time to time. One device for a lifetime is not realistic and puts people at a disadvantage. The accessibility to treatment and prosthetics has increased and with the increased number of casualties due to war, the demand is also now higher. As a result, delivery of service and goods should also be higher. These advanced devices serve to enhance and improve amputees’ quality of life and they deserve the opportunity to obtain them and become more productive and self-sufficient.”