The Village It Takes
Disabilities are expensive. The world we live in is not as accessible as it should be. When an individual with a disability navigates this world, they often have to pay for the ability to navigate it. The added expenses pile up quickly and include higher medical costs, personal care services, and assistive devices. People with disabilities often have to spend more on transportation or modified housing. And they often need to be more selective about the neighborhoods they live in, so they can be closer to work, medical care, or accessible services. As anyone with a disability can tell you, it all adds up.
Unfortunately, current government and private insurance policies don’t help nearly enough. Most assistance programs in the United States define need based on income and along narrow lines of need, without consideration of these extra expenses that impact every area of living. There is a flaw in calculating financial need because the forms and evaluators look at individual financial strain based on a model of an individual without a disability. It is difficult to demonstrate or express the very real strain and hardship that navigating the world with a disability creates. In fact, an otherwise satisfactory income may be insufficient to keep a person with a disability above the poverty line.
Medicare and private insurances often deliver the bare minimum, even if a more sophisticated product or technology improves health and saves the healthcare system money overall. This obstinate application of policy is especially unhelpful for people in need of mobility. Most insurance providers apply a narrow interpretation for mobility equipment, where reimbursement is usually limited to the minimum required for activities of daily living inside the home. If this seems like an antiquated approach, one that fails to address the needs and active lifestyles of people with disabilities in 2021, well it is. These reimbursement policies were actually codified nearly sixty years ago when Medicare was first established. Many advocacy groups and companies in the disability field, including Mobius Mobility, are working hard to change these policies. But change can be slow, especially when it involves the government and healthcare.
In the meantime, people with disabilities need to actively advocate for themselves. The good news is you are not alone on this journey. There are many resources available and people ready to help. Here at Mobius, we understand that mobility is much more than a medical necessity – mobility provides quality of life and is a well-being necessity. Mobility is the means for people to navigate the world as it exists. Mobius has a dedicated customer experience team that helps connect iBOT® PMD users to funding assistance. Often, iBOT® users will need to access several different funding sources, but with some hustle it is possible to fund the independence you need and deserve. Here is a partial list we’ve compiled, based on the experience of our users who successfully raised the funds needed to purchase their iBOT®.
- Help Hope Live (helphopelive.org) – Help Hope Live is a great non-profit, focused on helping individuals raise funds for medical care and products. Setting up a personal campaign is quick, easy, and free. Importantly, funds raised via Help Hope Live are usually not subject to income tax, which is not the case with for-profit campaign sites. A Mobius customer recently raised more than half the cost of his iBOT® in just weeks using this cool platform.
- Grants from disability advocacy groups – Depending on the type of disability or demographic factors like age or geographic location, many advocacy groups and non-profits provide grants to help with mobility purchases. For example, The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation provides the Brighter Tomorrow grant (https://msfocus.org/), the Wheel to Walk Foundation (https://www.wheeltowalk.com/) focuses on kids and young adults, Bryon Riesch Foundation (https://brpf.org/) focuses on different types of paralysis, and the NTAF Emergency Grant Program provides one-time grants for people with SCI.
- Community and Business Organizations in Your Town or City: Most towns and cities have local organizations who actively seek to help folks in their community. Many local chambers of commerce, Rotary, and chapters of the Knights of Columbus, Shriners, Lions Clubs, and Kiwanis, (to name just a few) offer financial assistance from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
- Insurance – while insurance reimbursement can be a challenge and limited by many plans, don’t write it off completely. Some insurance plans do provide at least some reimbursement. And don’t be afraid to be persistent – claims are often denied the first time they are filed, filing an appeal will often be necessary, but asking to speak to management and even state insurance regulators can be very effective. You’ll never know unless you file a claim!
- Last but not least, support from the many wonderful foundations and non-profits that Mobius Mobility has partnered with and works with every day.
We hope you find the above information helpful as you find ways to fund your independence. The team at Mobius has a wealth of knowledge about this topic, and we are here to help. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org