But not too long ago, things were even more difficult for Keefe. He was working at a manufacturing plant when he suffered a wrist injury that required multiple surgeries. He lost his job, and then his home.
Harnett’s 2015 accident was later determined to be work-related, and the workers’ compensation program paid for her care. If that hadn’t been the case, she would have been on the hook for the crutches because her own insurance plan didn’t cover any durable medical equipment that could be purchased over the counter. It would have covered the reinforced wrist and ankle braces, but only after she met her deductible.
“Historically, [durable medical equipment] has always been a weak point in coverage,” said Harnett, who is familiar with these insurance issues because of her disability work. A typical employer plan covers 80 percent of the cost after the deductible is met, according to Harnett.
But some consumers may not get that benefit. “We’re seeing more skinny plans with no durable medical equipment coverage at all,” said Thomas Ryan, president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare, an advocacy organization for home care equipment manufacturers and providers.