Last month’s bombings at the Boston Marathon left three people dead and about 260 people injured, including about 25 victims who had to get limbs amputated. Initial estimates suggested that the total medical costs of treating the survivors could exceed $9 million. Luckily, in order to help ensure that the survivors can afford their treatment, insurance companies and hospital administrators have announced they will help out by waiving most of the medical costs for them.
And now, the bombing victims with particularly serious injuries may also get some relief for their artificial prosthetics — which aren’t necessarily completely covered by insurance. The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association, a trade group that represents companies that make artificial limbs, has promised to provide some prosthetics free of cost to the people who underwent amputations after the bombings:
The association’s offer, announced on a conference call with reporters under the name Coalition to Walk and Run Again, will only cover a portion of the expected costs for amputees. Victims who lost both legs face estimated medical bills of $450,000 over the next five years, said Tom Fise, executive director of the association, citing a Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs study.
The association estimates that at least half the Boston Marathon amputees lack enough insurance to cover their prosthetic costs as some policies provide as little as $1,000 per device or only provide one artificial limb. Many prosthetics need replacing every five to seven years.
“The last thing that someone should have to worry about when they lose … a leg is to have adequate insurance coverage for a prosthetic device,” said Kendra Calhoun, president of the Amputee Coalition, an organization supporting the estimated 2 million amputees in the United States.
Since the attacks at the Boston Marathon, support has poured in for the victims, many of whom had their lower extremities blown off by the explosions. The One Fund, a relief group established by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino, has collected about $27 million in donations that it plans to distribute to the survivors and their families. Upcoming marathons in other cities are planning to organize donations for the One Fund. There are also several other celebrity-backed general funds soliciting aid for the victims, as well as individual efforts to raise money for particular survivors with serious injuries.