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Mountain State Insurers Get New Mandate

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Vermont Gov. James Douglas, R, has signed S.B. 280, a bill that will require state-regulated health insurers to cover orthotic and prosthetic care for amputees.

The Amputee Coalition of America, Knoxville, Tenn., has been mounting a major campaign to promote state and federal prosthetic parity bills. Vermont now is the 10th state to have a prosthetic care parity law on the books.

The other states with prosthetic care mandate laws are California, Colorado, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California and Oregon.

The Vermont mandate forbids insurers from imposing special exemptions or other financial caps on prosthetic benefits.

Health insurers oppose most benefits mandates, arguing that they decrease carrier flexibility and often increase costs.

The ACA contends that a prosthetic care mandate will increase carrier costs by only about 12 cents to 35 cents per $1,000 of insurance premium revenue while improving the quality of life of amputees.