Laura J. Ball , Gary L. Pattee , Lewis Golinker & David R. Beukelman
Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication
People with such severe and complex communication needs that they require speech-generating devices (SGDs) to meet daily communication needs come from all age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2013). Among this group are people eligible for Medicare, which will provide payment for a percentage (typically 80 percent) of covered health care costs, including SGDs. Medicare eligibility extends to people age 65 and older and younger people who became disabled from non-work related causes. In this article, the authors first review Medicare coverage for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices beginning in the 1980s and subsequently document the SGD acquisition and access of 64 people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) whose speech became so severely limited that they required an SGD to support functional communication.