ASHA is committed to maintaining the hard-fought coverage
gains at the federal and state levels for rehabilitative and habilitative services
and devices. Our association, along with the American Occupational Therapy
Association and the American Physical Therapy Association, sent a letter to Dr.
Tom E. Price, the newly appointed Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services. The joint communication [PDF] underscores the importance of
continued consumer access to services provided by occupational therapists, physical
therapists, and speech-language pathologists in future health reform
In addition, as part of the Habilitation Benefits Coalition (HAB Coalition), ASHA urged [PDF] Congress to preserve coverage
of habilitative services and devices, including audiology and speech-language
pathology, in any Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement efforts. The HAB
Coalition explains how habilitative services and devices have helped Americans
with disabilities—and those with chronic progressive conditions—to acquire and
maintain skills and functions never developed and to maintain their health and
function so that they can live as independently as possible. Some of the
long-term benefits of therapy services include reducing long-term disability,
reducing dependents' costs to society, and allowing caregivers to return to
Both letters provide real-life examples of children and adults who have benefited
from receiving rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.
On March 6, 2017, two House committees—the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy
and Commerce Committee—released the American Health Care Act to repeal and
replace the ACA. Currently, ACA-compliant plans (i.e., nongrandfathered individual
and small group plans) must provide coverage for rehabilitative and habilitative
services and devices.
The HAB Coalition is a group of national nonprofit consumer and clinical
organizations focused on securing appropriate access to, and coverage of,
habilitation benefits within the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) category known
as "rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices" under Section 1302 of
For more information, please contact Daneen Grooms, MHSA, ASHA's director of health
reform analysis and advocacy, at [email protected] or by phone at 301-296-5651.