According to the law, Americans with disabilities have the right to fully participate in their lives (to go to work, to school, to live independently, etc.). Then why are so many Americans still without the mobility equipment that makes it possible for them to live the lives they choose? If a wheelchair is to be a useful tool, to engage in the world, it must be dependable and customizable to your unique needs.
Medicare, which apparently is mirrored by every other insurance entity, currently does not have unique coverage for the more complex equipment (dependable and customizable). This is the mobility equipment that can be adjusted to your body and to your activities, the equipment that is easiest to use so you can do more things. Possibly the wheelchair you want and may have been told, “it’s not covered.”
It’s a problem when the policy makers in Washington don’t know the difference between the airport transport chair and the wheelchair that can be used everyday to live a full life. If you think about it, the 40 -pound, chrome, vinyl seat, non-adjustable wheelchair is really not appropriate for anyone for more than a few minutes, much less for a lifestyle.
The good news is that there is a Bill called HR4378 that ensures that Americans will be able to get more complex equipment like custom power wheelchairs, ultra lightweight wheelchairs and seating systems under the Medicare program. It’s a new Bill and it needs our help.
Thank you for being an activist.
Ann Eubank, LMSW, OTR/L, ATP, CAPS
a program of United Spinal Association