Insurers Fight Speech-Impairment RemedyBy Vance, Ashlee; New York Times,
Publication Date: September 15, 2009
Article discusses the lack of insurance coverage for inexpensive alternatives to costly dedicated speech generating devices for people with speech impairments. Alternative devices described include Apple iPhones and netbook PCs with added text-to-speech software such as Proloquo2Go. Although these assistive devices have been proven effective and conveniently portable for people with speech impairments due to disabilities such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Down syndrome, and autism, they are not covered by Medicare or private insurers as they are not dedicated assistive technology devices. Speech generating devices from companies such as DynaVox and Prentke Romich, while being far costlier and less portable, are often covered by insurance. Advantages of proprietary devices mentioned include their sturdiness, better speakers, and links to support services. Users of the less expensive AT alternatives interviewed voiced a hope that insurers would loosen their rules to accommodate general-purpose devices or that the government would set a certain dollar limit on speech-generating tools and then let patients find the products that fit their needs. Meanwhile, individuals with speech disabilities must either pay out of pocket for a cheaper product or try to borrow one from a private assistance group.
Assistive Products Discussed: PROLOQUO
Published by: New York Times Company (Website:http://www.nytco.com)
Link to text: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/technology/15speech.html