Cigna Transitions to Case-by-Case Review Process, Eliminating Non-Coverage Policy
ReWalk Robotics, Ltd. recently disclosed that Cigna Corporation, a leading global health service company, has revised its policy regarding coverage of exoskeleton medical devices for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). Cigna, which previously had a non-coverage policy, will now review submissions from beneficiaries on a case-by-case basis to consider providing coverage based on medical criteria. This policy revision is the first of its kind by a major private insurer for individuals eligible to use exoskeleton devices. While the policy change has already taken effect, the formal policy change will be updated in Cigna’s next revision cycle, expected to be published in or around Q3 2019.
“This is a major milestone for healthcare beneficiaries in the United States,” said ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski. “Cigna is leading by example with its understanding of emerging technologies, a focus on improving the overall health and well-being of beneficiaries, and most of all, in the development of progressive policies,” said Jasinski. “This new policy is expected to have an immediate impact on the lives of qualified beneficiaries who will now have access to life changing medical devices.”
This policy update marks the latest national decision in the U.S. for exoskeleton devices for spinal cord injured individuals. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a national policy for the evaluation, training and procurement of ReWalk Personal exoskeleton systems for all qualifying veterans across the United States. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) estimates there are about 17,700 new spinal cord injuries cases each year and the number of people with SCI living in the United States is currently estimated to be approximately 288,000 persons.
“ReWalk has prioritized interacting directly with payors and educating them regarding the benefits of exoskeletons use, and Cigna’s decision comes after providing them the most recent evidence. We anticipate that other payors will follow Cigna’s leadership in providing the latest and most current technologies for their members,” Jasinski added.
Community Sports and Therapy Center (CSTC) along with Mercer Health is proud to be one of just three Training Centers for ReWalk Robotics in the state of Ohio. The ability to have access to such innovative technology close by, along with the improving process for insurance coverage is exciting news for local participants.
“We have seen so many benefits from our patients that have been able to utilize the ReWalk system including improvement in trunk control and balance, improvement in upper extremity strength, decrease in spasticity, and improvement in patient’s bowel programs. The ReWalk system also allows for weight bearing through lower extremities for improvement in bone density” said Kelly Bailey, PT for CSTC. Kelly is an advanced trainer of the ReWalk Exoskeleton system with hands on experience using the device for retraining of patients with spinal cord injuries.
To learn more about the ReWalk system visit our website at https://www.cstcenter.com/project/rewalk-rehabilitation