(STATEHOUSE) Jan. 29, 2008 - A bill authored by state Rep. Mike Murphy (R-Indianapolis) to require insurance companies to adequately cover the cost of prosthetic limbs with no lifetime limitation passed the Indiana House of Representatives on third reading.
Rep. Murphy began work on the bill, House Bill 1140, when a southside Indianapolis resident, Allen Dolberry, contacted him this summer and alerted him to a disturbing trend in insurance coverage affecting the lives of amputees like him throughout the country.
In the hopes of reducing cost and reimbursements, many insurance companies have placed annual and lifetime limits on reimbursements for prosthetic limbs. These companies also have begun to evaluate the types of prosthetic limbs currently available, providing less reimbursement for newer and more technologically advanced prosthetic devices that increase the safety and quality of life of users.
"No one chooses to loose a limb," said Rep. Murphy. "For those individuals who have had to undergo the incredible tragedy of loosing arms or legs, it is a life sentence. They rely on the assistance of medical and insurance providers to make their lives functional, to increase mobility and to bring some semblance of normalcy back to their lives."
Less than one week ago, several citizens came to the Statehouse to testify on this bill in the House Insurance Committee, including a Purdue University professor who lost both legs in an automobile accident and fought for years to receive coverage for her artificial limbs. Also testifying were a mother and son who shared their personal story of a child growing up as an amputee, struggling to afford the many replacement limbs necessary to accommodate a growing child.
Although the bill met some opposition on the House floor from members who argued that there are already too many mandates placed on insurance companies, the bill passed with a vote of 83-14. It will now move to the Senate before returning for a final vote in March.
"I understand the concern over ever-climbing insurance costs," added Murphy. "However, what this bill asks for is not optional or frivolous. To deny Indiana's amputees the limbs they need goes against Hoosier principles. By guaranteeing them access to their basic need to be functional with this bill, we allow them to live their lives fully, and there is no limit to what they can do.
Rep. Murphy encourages local constituents to contact him with questions or concerns through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling the Statehouse toll-free at 1-800-382-9841 or by writing him at 200 W. Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204.