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Barmer accepts LSG ruling for exoskeletons as assistive device compensation

Barmer has withdrawn its appeal before the date at the Federal Social Court. It thus accepts the provision of its insured with the Rewalk exoskeleton as an aid for direct disability compensation.

The manufacturer Rewalk Robotics Ltd. announces that Barmer has withdrawn the initially filed appeal against the second-instance ruling of the North Rhine-Westphalia Regional Social Court shortly before the scheduled date before the Federal Social Court. The legal dispute centered on a 32-year-old man who had applied to Barmer for a Rewalk Personal 6.0 exoskeleton. The aid is intended to enable paraplegics to stand upright, walk and climb stairs.

With the withdrawal of the revision, Barmer accepts the supply of its insured with the exoskeleton as an aid for the direct compensation of disabilities. This makes it one of the health insurers with the most supplies of a Rewalk exoskeleton.
According to the now legally binding decision of the LSG North Rhine-Westphalia, orthopedic aids, such as the Rewalk exoskeleton, serve to directly compensate for disabilities because they restore the lost or impaired physical function of independent standing and walking. According to the decision of the LSG North Rhine-Westphalia, the provision of an advanced, technically developed aid that serves to directly compensate for disability may also not be refused on the grounds that the insured person has already received a supply of aids that (such as an active or standing wheelchair) serve to indirectly compensate for disability. The provision of an aid for the direct compensation of disability is in this respect an aliud compared to the existing provision.

Larry Jasinski, CEO of Rewalk Robotics, says, "After the Listing of the exoskeleton as a recognized aid in the list of aids in 2018 now the recognition that exoskeletons serve to directly compensate for disability is only logical."

Thomas Ratajczak, legal representative of the plaintiff Lars Vinken, says: "After seven long years for Mr. Vinken, a legal dispute of immense importance for paraplegics came to an end today. Germany's second largest health insurance company accepted the provision of an exoskeleton from the manufacturer Rewalk Robotics as direct compensation for disability. This means that paraplegics who are eligible for an exoskeleton can hope to meet non-disabled people on an equal footing."

Plaintiff Lars Vinken stated, "After waiting years to be able to walk in an exoskeleton, I am pleased that Barmer will now provide me with a Rewalk. The fact that other paraplegics will now have easier access to this technology has tremendous value. Being fitted with an exoskeleton and being able to get up and walk at any time opens up new horizons for me."

Rewalk exoskeleton serves immediate disability compensation - (15.11.2022)

Tom Illauer

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