Bill would require health insurers to include coverage for prosthetic devices
The New York State Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Rob Ortt, R-C-I-North Tonawanda, that would ensure wounded veterans get the medical services they need after serving our country. The bill (S.5943) would cover the cost of prosthetic devices for members of the armed forces who suffered injuries while on active duty.
"Transitioning back to civilian life after combat can be extremely tough, especially when a soldier is wounded," Ortt said. "The trauma many of our brave military men and women deal with upon returning home can be debilitating if they don't have the tools necessary to move forward and live a fulfilling life. Amputees shouldn't have to worry about how they're going to pay for a prosthetic. This bill eases that burden for them and takes care of our veterans who have given up so much to serve our country."
WNY Heroes co-founder and president, Chris Kreiger, said, "After reviewing this bill, I stand by Sen. Ortt's side in full support. Our community today doesn't seem to realize the amount of hardship that fall upon not only our veterans after returning home, but our families as a whole. Many come home to no job, no home or hope, and having to deal with all of that on top of having an injury only compounds the anguish.
"Prosthetics can be costly, but necessary, so having some financial help would go a long way toward a veteran's recovery. After all, these brave men and women gave what many were afraid to give; for many, that includes their lives."
Under this bill, health insurers would be required to provide coverage for prosthetic devices that are intended for medically necessary rehabilitative purposes. Additionally, coverage of a prosthetic would include the cost of repair or replacement due to normal wear and tear, if the device has been outgrown or no longer fits properly, or if a change in the medical condition makes replacement necessary. This act would only pertain to veterans living in New York.
According to a February 2013 Congressional Research Service report, 991 service members in the Iraq War received wounds that required amputations, and in Afghanistan 724 have had to undergo amputations.
The bill is being sent to the Assembly.