On October 1, the federal government shut down as a result of Congress’s inability to reach a deal on appropriations levels for 2014.
Currently, Medicare payments to providers and claims processing should continue, so O&P providers will continue to be paid with minor delays at the contractor level. Social Security checks will also continue to be sent and VA hospitals and patient care clinics will continue during the course of the shutdown, according to a statement from the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP).
The shutdown did not prevent consumers from signing up for federal health care exchanges, one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
“About 7 million Americans without insurance are expected to sign up under the exchanges for new health care coverage between now and March of 2014,” according to Peter W. Thomas, JD, general counsel for the NAAOP. “This is a massive federal program, but 85% of the dollars that fund the exchanges and fund the Affordable Care Act programs are outside of the normal annual appropriations process so the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will, in fact, go into effect.”
Although states have some discretion to choose their covered benefits, the new insurance options are expected to cover orthotics and prosthetics in most states.