4 Things You Need To Know About The Lymphedema Treatment Act
Dealing with lymphedema has never been an easy task. However, using compression garments to compensate for the loss of lymph nodes or malfunctioning lymph systems is vital to the successful treatment of the incurable condition. Many Medicare patients face the difficult prospect of mounting medical bills and the need to purchase effective compression supplies. For some, this can mean no ongoing treatment of their lymphedema at all.
Fortunately, Congress is considering a bill called the Lymphedema Treatment Act that, should it become law, will add doctor-prescribed compression supplies, including garments, to the Medicare Part B program for compensation. These are the pertinent facts about the Lymphedema Treatment Act.
Why Lymphedema Supplies Have Never Been Covered
Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA-8) had inquired of the last two secretaries of Health and Human Services why the costs of compression treatment, so necessary for certain patients, were not covered by Medicare. Twice he was told that the only reason it is not presently covered is because Medicare has no benefit category in which to include self-treatment equipment. The secretaries had no authority, apparently, to simply manufacture a category out of thin air. Rather, it is the duty of Congress to statutorily create one, instead. If created and funded, compression articles can then be covered by Medicare.
Bill Introduced in 2015
Congressman Reichert then introduced the Lymphedema Treatment Act in 2015, with an identical bill introduced into the Senate. As of July, 2016, the bills enjoy 240 co-sponsors from both houses. The bill, in its present iteration, is to create the necessary Medicare category and to mandate other insurers, such as Medicaid and private insurance, also to provide coverage for lymphedema supplies.
What the Act Will Do
The purpose of the Lymphedema Treatment Act is to improve Medicare coverage for lymphedema, from any cause, by enabling patient self-treatment at home using the necessary supplies as individually prescribed by their doctors. An expected economic benefit of the bill will be the reduction of funds spent by Medicare and other insurers when inadequate home treatment creates complications and more hospitalizations, disabilities and deaths.
You can learn more about this act, and encourage its passage by visiting the LymphedemaTreatmentAct.org website. This non-profit lobbying organization offers all the information you need to contact your representatives and senators to encourage them to support the act.