Jousting with Bureaucracy

Joan of Arc / Library of Congress
Joan of Arc / Library of Congress

My physical therapist recommended a certain kind of brace, but my hospital didn't carry it. In fact, no hospitals in Massachusetts carried it, even though it is popular at hospitals in California. So I bought it directly though the brace company, out of pocket. I sent the receipt to Medicare for reimbursement. (Medicare is the USA's health plan for seniors and the disabled.) I had gotten an earlier brace reimbursed.

I was denied, saying Medicare doesn't reimbursed people for out of pocket braces anymore. Note that if I had gotten the new brace from a hospital, it would have been covered. Never mind that in my state there wasn't a single hospital that carried this brace model. It would have been cheaper to fly to California and gotten it through a hospital there. I appealed. Denied.

Medicare is supposed to be a national program. Guess not.

I called my Congressman and my Senators. They made inquiries. They told me to appeal it to an external body. I did. Still waiting.

Recently, my hospital started carrying the brace.