Any luck with Walk-aide and insurance?

Discuss physical medical devices that can be used to treat or improve MS symptoms

Any luck with Walk-aide and insurance?

Postby Smilingface » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:16 pm

I've been working on United HealthCare this afternoon to at least consider coverage for the Walk-aide device. I think this device would really improve the quality of my life.

I know in the eye business insurance companies will sometimes cover a lesser expensive device and patients can pay the difference. My favorite example of this is the premium Intra-ocular lens implant that was FDA approved this year. Patients can be covered by their insurance company for part of it by using established codes and pay for the rest out of their pocket.

I was wondering if anyone has tried that with the walk-aide device? Codes I have looked at are L1960, L1970, L1932 and the code that is currently rejected by insurance companies L2999. How close do you folks think we are with getting help in paying for this expensive device?
Primary Progressive, Onset 10 years ago at age 42, diagnosis 6 years ago, Vit D, Chinese Herbs, Exercise, yoga. So far tried antibiotics, fumaric acid and 4AP. Currently participant in the FTY720/PPMS Trial.<br />
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Postby Sharon » Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:51 pm

I got my WalkAide last Wednesday(day before Thanksgiving). The technician suggested that I only wear it for an hour the first day, but with all the errands and preparations for the Thanksgiving meal I forgot to take it off. At 9:00 pm Wednesday night I finally sat down and realized that it was still on -oops! I decided to put it on the exercise mode for a couple of sessions while I relaxed. I then realized that I did not have the normal, nightly muscle fatigue, nor did I feel as tired as usual. Next day I wore the device most of the day, and then Friday I went shopping and it was on the entire day. My shopping day was great because I was able to keep up with my 30-year old daughters; I seemed to be more comfortable in crowds; and I did not stub my toe one time! Don't get me wrong though, my gait still has a lot of room for improvement.

Just a few additional thoughts on the device -
*The shoe does make a difference - you are programmed for a specific heel height (your choice). If you vary the height by more than 1/2 inch plus or minus, you will notice a difference in the dorsiflexion of the foot. This might not be an issue for men, but for women you cannot go from a tennis shoe to a 2" heel without having it reprogrammed.
*Kneeling on the floor is a challenge because the WalkAide fits just below your knee. You just have to be careful -
*I was able to walk out of the Hangar office with the WalkAide strapped on my leg. The receptionist was not able to tell which leg the device was on - what a positive feedback for me! Obviously, everyone has their own personal issues and might not experience the same results.

I have not contacted the insurance company as of yet. I am on COBRA and the insurance was just recently changed to Aetna. My understanding is that Aetna is not a company that would bend its coverage. I am looking at the insurance codes - probably will start out with durable medical equipment. I think your best hope is if you have a PPO - an HMO would not touch it. I will update as I move forward.

In summary, I am pleased with my decision - I think it will be money well spent. I look forward to walking (instead of taking a cart) on the golf course this spring.
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Postby Sharon » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:09 pm

Smilingface

Check the following link in reference to insurance coverage on the WalkAide


https://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedHCPCSGenInfo/Downloads/DME_0503_Agenda.pdf[/code]

Sharon
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Postby whyRwehere » Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:18 pm

Sharon, do you have an update on how you are doing with this aid?
Thanks,
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Postby Sharon » Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:23 pm

WRHW - here is the update.

First, let me say, the device is great but, it does not produce miracles!

I wear the WalkAide everyday - it has become part of the routine (sort of like brushing your teeth every morning!). Once I get it on and get the impulse regulated (easy, easy), I kind of forget about it. ---Until I start off on the wrong foot. The device is built around a tilt sensor, so if I step forward with my bad leg it gets kind of confused and I do a "stutter step". I have to move forward with my right leg (the left is tilted back) and everything is fine. Turning is another issue - I have to remember to step forward and turn with the right leg. So far, going up stairs is still a challenge. It will lift your foot, but you still have to lift the leg which is a weakness of mine. No different than before the WalkAide.

The ankle seems to be getting a little more flexion on its own. I am able to walk without the WalkAide and strike with the heel first instead of being flat-footed. (for very short distances) My theory is that the WalkAide is now allowing my leg to use the correct muscles to walk - some of the muscles have not been used 100% for a long time; therefore, they are naturally weak. With continued use, it seems to me that the leg will become stronger.

In comparison to the Bioness product, I am still happy with my choice. The only hesitation would be that the Bioness video shows a patient walking up and down three or four stairs without a problem. (is this a true picture?) As mentioned above, stairs are still an ongoing challenge. But, I like the WalkAide because it is smaller, more compact than the Bioness.

It has been snowy and cold for the past few weeks, so have not ventured onto a dirt path as of yet. It will be interesting to see how I do walking on an uneven surface.

Insurance would not cover, so I went on an 18-month no interest pay plan.

If you have any other questions, please let me know. You can PM if you like.

Sharon
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Postby whyRwehere » Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:11 pm

Thanks Sharon,
That was fairly said...if I have any more ???s I'll be in touch!
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Re: Any luck with Walk-aide and insurance?

Postby Cappy228 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:52 am

I am going for my fitting this afternoon. I had a left hemiparesisstroke Jan 2, 14. I am able to walk over 350 ft with assistance of one now. I am eager to what I can do with the walkaid. I will report back in the insurance coverage or payment plan. Anyone find a magic bullet for a non responsive arm?
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