Kaiser Permanente Will Require Copays for Prostheses, Other Medical Devices and Services
To help reduce its costs, Kaiser Permanente will now require patients to provide copayments for prosthetic limbs and other durable medical goods, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The HMO will require patients to cover 20% of the cost of prostheses and provide copayments for services and supplies including emergency room treatment, oxygen, diabetic testing devices and wheelchairs. Kaiser Permanente had been one of "a handful" of plans to fully cover the cost of protheses. Kaiser Permanente spokesperson Terry Lightfoot said, "There are people who have chronic conditions and seniors who need large amounts of prescription drugs. The costs for these things is having to be spread out, and in many cases, that means people picking up part of the costs." Lightfoot added, "It's not an issue of amputees versus people with diabetes or other chronic conditions. It's just a matter of higher costs requiring us to charge a little more." Glen Ellis, an area vice president for Hanger Orthopedic Group, the nation's largest prosthetic and orthotic provider, said a prosthesis to "restore basic mobility" to someone who lost a leg below the knee can cost between $3,000 and $6,000, while a "high-performance limb" can run up to $15,000 (AP/Contra Costa Times, 1/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.