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Colorado Bill Puts Pressure on Insurance Companies for Athletic Prostheses

Mar 21, 2023 |

athletes with blade runners

Similar to House Bill 131 (So New Mexicans Can Move), proposed legislation in Colorado (House Bill 23-1136) is fighting for the rights of amputees in the state. ABC Denver 7 recently published a story highlighting 5-year-old Braden McMahon, one of the people this bill would benefit.  

Although born without a fibula in one of his legs and having his foot amputated, Braden is a high-energy kindergartener with ambitious dreams. Growing at a rapid pace, Braden needs a new prosthetic limb every year (he calls it his “robot leg”), but insurance helps cover only limbs deemed “medically necessary.”  

“This particular leg is deemed as medically necessary,” Braden’s mother said when referring to his walking leg. “But anything else for sports, like running blades or anything like that, that’s actually deemed not medically necessary.”  

This is why Rep. David Ortiz, D-Denver, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have proposed House Bill 23-1136 to require insurance companies to help cover the cost of athletic prostheses.  

The bill would require state-regulated insurance plans to cover prosthetic limbs for those under 26 years old if their physician determines the prosthesis will maximize their upper-limb functions. With a groundbreaking win for all ages paving the way in New Mexico, there are discussions to broaden the Colorado bill to be inclusive of all ages. House Bill 23-1136 will face its first committee hearing March 21.