The Cost of Prosthetics: Anger turned to action
After the amputation of her foot, Andrews had big goals that she wanted to pursue before the year was over. First, she wanted to walk with her prosthetic without crutches. After that, she aimed to start running, and to complete a 5K run. However, running and other physical activities, like swimming, require different types of prosthetics built for that type of motion and impact.
When it came time for Andrews to be fitted for her walking prosthetic, she asked about running blades, too. After all, her doctor hoped that she would run again. She was told that while it’s important for amputees to be physically active, insurance companies won’t cover the cost of activewear prosthetics, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000. What’s more, due to wear and tear, they need to be tweaked or replaced every three to five years.
Andrews says she left the appointment angry, thinking of all the people who couldn’t be active after an amputation because of the cost.
“I know how much having cancer costs financially because my family dealt with it,” she says. “There are so many families that are in debt because of medical traumas, so the idea of having this added expense after surviving this tumultuous situation…I couldn't understand. Insurance wants you to improve your health so they don't have to pay for other things, but they don't want to pay for the tools to allow you the mobility to do those activities.”
Pictured: Jenn Andrews runs with a running blade prosthetic.