Who’s Paying for Assistive Technology?
When Lee Huffman wants to use his personal computer, he launches a special application that magnifies the screen, allows him to change background colors in case his eyes get tired of the bright hues, and reads whatever text is on display. This tool helps him get information online, work on his projects and carry with his daily tasks as editor for AccessWorld, a magazine of the American Foundation of the Blind (AFB) that provides technology news for the blind and visually impaired.
In his early childhood, Huffman was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a genetic eye disorder that leads to progressive vision loss. Since then he’s been taking on the challenge of finding ways to stay active in society and aspire to a normal professional path by using assistive technology.
The special software that he uses costs around $700 and it was purchased by AFB. Other sophisticated technology tools, such as special laptops or tablets that blind or low-vision people use to function in society and aspire to full-time positions can cost thousands of dollars, but none of them are covered by health insurance, experts say, since they are not considered medical devices.