What is parity?

It is a bill that is in legislation to be passed which ensures people with limb loss to the right to obtain prosthetics through their health insurance.

“No one would say you can only have $2, 500 a year for a knee replacement, of $5, 000 for a heart stint, and you certainly wouldn’t suggest someone can only have one heart attack per lifetime, but these are some of the common caps and restrictions that are placed on prosthetic devices. We ask all Floridians to contact their representatives to support passage of this crucial legislation which will ensure people with limb loss to reach their full potential.” William Moses, Vice President of F.A.S.T.; the Amputee Coalition’s Lead Advocate in the state of Florida adds, “Arms and legs are not a luxury; they are not convenience items. Prosthetic limbs are essential items that enable people with limb loss to function as working, tax paying citizens.”

Florida House Representatives
Representative Joe Gibbons
District 105

316-The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(954) 893-5006                                                                                                                                                   (850) 488-0415

Dear Floridians:

To help provide insurance coverage for Florida residents who need prosthetic limbs, I am proud to announce I will sponsor “Prosthetic Parity” legislation in the 2012 session of the Florida Legislature.
I believe it is important that Florida put prosthetic care on the same level of importance with other critical medical services, such as heart stints. The legislation that I have prepared to file requires health insurers to provide coverage for the repair and replacement of prosthetic devices and components. This legislation will help eliminate the arbitrary restrictions and exemptions that some insurance companies currently impose.
This won’t be my first attempt at passing this important reform. During this spring’s 2011 session, I sought to pass legislation to ensure prosthetic parity for those who have lost limbs by requiring insurance policies to provide coverage for orthotic and prosthetic devices. Like other parity bills that have been approved in other states, the plan would have required patients to cover deductibles and copayments.

Currently, coverage for orthotics and prosthetics varies among insurance policies, but often the coverage is minimal. I believe that arms and legs are not luxuries. They are essential in the recovery and restoration of an amputee who has lost them. Prosthesis gives the user the ability to function and live as independently as possible.
During the session, my legislation faced numerous hurdles and was not even allowed to be presented to its first committee of reference. While some critics have suggested the legislation could increase health insurance rates, I am fare more concerned that the high cost of prosthetics – and lack of insurance coverage for the devices -- prevents many amputees from affording proper prosthetics. Additionally, I am skeptical of the predictions of increased insurance costs. Several states that have passed parity laws have consistently found that the cost of this coverage is minimal.
I encourage supporters of prosthetic parity legislation to contact their State Representative and State Senator and ask for their support and encouragement in passage this crucial legislation, one that will ensure that people who have lost a limb can reach their full potential.

Joseph Gibbons
State Representative, District 105

Minority Leader Pro Tempore
Committees: Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Democratic Ranking Member
Appropriations Committee • Rulemaking & Regulations Subcommittee • Rules & Calendar Committee

F.A.S.T. Offers

• Support Group meetings
• Peer training
• Information programs & speakers
• Social activities
• Advocacy & education
• Para-sporting events
• Caregiver education & support
• Accredited Peer Visitation certified by the ACA