Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2013by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney
Posted on 2013-12-12
of new york
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Speaker, it is estimated
that more than 60 million Americans are at risk of serious vision
loss--a number expected to increase as the baby boomer generation ages.
Along with my colleague Rep. Gus Bilirakis, I am proud to introduce
legislation to support Americans with limited or impaired vision. For
someone with a visual impairment, reading a book or crossing the street
could be blurred or distorted even with the help of glasses or contact
lenses. In many cases a physician can prescribe magnifiers or special
optical devices to help an individual remain independent. While there
are a wide variety of options to help people with low vision,
currently, there is an exclusion from Medicare coverage for devices
that include a lens to aid vision or provide magnification of images
for impaired vision. Ultimately, not having these assistance devices
could shift more individuals from independent living to care facilities
or nursing homes.
To understand the impact of covering these devices for America's seniors, we are introducing the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2013. This legislation would create a five- year national demonstration project administered by the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate the economic impact of allowing reimbursement for certain low vision devices under the Social Security Act. Coverage of such devices could help Medicare beneficiaries with low vision lead healthy, safe, and independent lives.