Health insurance must pay for exoskeletons


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I’m still a trifle surprised, post Hobby Lobby; that nobody seems to have had a proper try at restricting coverage exclusively to faith healing; on deeply held religious grounds that have nothing to do with the relatively low cost of that flavor of ‘treatment’, of course…


More correctly stated, “People’s health insurance premiums must pay for exoskeletons”.


Went to the GIF Bank for a clip of an arthropod saying, “Thanks Obama!”, but you failed me BBS.


I’m actually shocked. When I was a nurse, I could barely get prosthetic limbs covered because insurance companies would put up so many stupid hoops to jump through.


It’s only a matter of time!


I’m surprised nobody at the company pointed out the gentleman has arms, and therefore legs aren’t strictly necessary. The ACA made insurance companies more accountable, but it certainly didn’t make them any sweeter.


I’m guessing here, but wouldn’t people who use exo-skeletons have better overall health benefits? I assume this should translate into long-term savings for insurance companies.

These companies are so short-sighted.


Well, that’s basically why it went to an independent review board - because there’s no hard literature about whether people who get this treatment do see an overall health benefit (or to be more bottom-line minded, whether it will result in a lower total future cost for that particular patient.) Quality of life is notoriously hard to quantify, that’s basically why they have IRBs.

Any treatment not covered by the pool is not covered in the premium, even a treatment which will lower next year’s premium.

Also, just playing devil’s advocate, but I like that my insurance company doesn’t simply rubber stamp every hyped new Kickstarter medical device.


Better overall health benefits don’t necessarily translate into cost savings for the insurance company. From a purely sociopathic cost-driven perspective it’s better for them if people with disabilities live short, miserable lives than long, fulfilling and expensive-to-maintain lives.


Can we leverage the recent trend of makers and at-home manufacturing, extend it to medical mechatronics and chemistry, and cut the cost by order of magnitude or two?


It may be some time yet before most people have access to home workshop equipment up to the task of building robotic exoskeletons.


You don’t need “most”, you need just “enough”, with attached gift, barter, or low-cost money economy or a combination of these modes.

…and yes, I have a serious case of Tony Stark envy.


boingboing has posted before on how expensive robotic hands don’t necessarily provide extra functionality over less advanced 3d printed hands. It seems intuitively obvious to the able bodied that a exoskeleton would be better adapted to the real world than a wheelchair. But that assumes a certain level of reliability that current exo skeletons may not provide.


I certainly wouldn’t presume to tell a disabled person which device they should use to get around. But an insurance company is likely to make that decision based on what they think will cost them less money, not what the user wants or what provides the best health outcome.


First, I was just asking hypothetically since there is no way to measure the outcome.

But the possible elimination of chronic infections that lead to hospitalizations isn’t a monetary benefit? Infections caused by circulatory and pulmonary difficulties? (bedsores and pneumonia cine to mind)

I’m not saying that there’s a negative correlation with exo-skeleton use and hospitalization, but a lot of secondary issues occur with paralysis that are incredibly expensive and repetitive. Surely the goal is to get the body up and about to minimize these issues, which is a win-win.


Because they want profit for their shareholders. This is the single most reason to make the industry obsolete.


You mean like some kind of socialist single-payer healthcare system that isn’t completely profit-driven? I’d like to see a country try to make something like THAT work in real life.

(Wait, what do you mean “they all did except us?”)