Cigna Corporation, a leading global health service company, has revised its policy regarding coverage of ReWalk Robotics exoskeleton medical devices for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). The news was announced today by ReWalk Robotics. 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.