Medicare Coverage of Vision Assistive Equipment for Low Vision Patients

The Jewish Guild for the Blind
Dec 2 2010
Alan.Morse's picture

In 2002 Medicare approved coverage of rehabilitation services provided to beneficiaries who have low vision.  However, Medicare has consistently refused to cover magnifiers and other vision assistive equipment because they interpret the spectacle exclusion clause in the Medicare law to apply to such equipment.  Dr. Alan Morse has long been a strong advocate for Medicare coverage of low vision rehabilitation and is the primary person  responsible for educating Medicare on the issue and helping them craft their 2002 Program Memorandum.  Dr. Morse and his colleagues published a special article in the October, 2010  issue of Archives of Ophthalmology that presents a case for Medicare coverage of vision assistive equipment.  A summary of that article is presented here along with a PDF, which contains the supporting case studies described in the Archives article as being "available in an appendix on request from the author."

The Assistive Devices Program (ADP)

Professor of Optometry at the University of Waterloo
Nov 16 2010
gstrong's picture

A novel program to support device-assisted vision rehabilitation in Ontario Canada

The Ontario Assistive Device Program (ADP) coverage for visual aids was introduced in the early eighties with coverage limited to Ontario youngsters and adolescents aged 16 years or younger. Over a relatively brief period, this coverage was extended to people of all ages. The breadth and range of ADP visual aids coverage is extensive, although the program has fallen far behind with respect to coverage of new device technologies (especially newer video-based devices such as portable CCTV systems, head or face worn video devices, GPS-based mobility devices, and print access devices). The program has also been criticized for failing to keep abreast of real market pricing of eligible devices (overpaying for computers and adaptations and underfunding for customized optical devices). ADP funding guidelines preclude the purchase of duplicate devices or for two different devices having the same essential function. Accordingly, ADP will fund only one device per function, in each of the aids categories: optical, reading, writing, and orientation and mobility.

Medicare Low Vision Demonstration Project

Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore MD
Sep 15 2010
jderemeik's picture

Final Reports - September 2010

Three major reports on the Medicare Low Vision Rehabilitation Demonstration Project have just been released. These reports describe the results of studies by Brandeis University of low vision service providers, beneficiaries, and claims in the Medicare Low Vision Rehabilitation Demonstration Project.

Medicare Policy Issues Related to Low Vision Rehabilitation

Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore MD
Dec 18 2009
rmassof's picture

Approximately 80% of the U.S. low vision population is over age 65.1 Consequently, Medicare coverage policies have a large impact on the types and levels of low vision rehabilitation services provided by the health care system and on the choice of health care professionals who provide those services. Medicare policies relevant to low vision rehabilitation have undergone significant revisions over the past several years and are expected to evolve with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 5-year Medicare Low Vision Rehabilitation Demonstration Project.

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