Text-to-speech applications available on smartphones can do wonders for people with speech impairments. But despite their cheap price tag, insurance providers won’t cover these devices instead favoring expensive, outdated equipment.

The reason: under federal insurance guidelines, speech assistance technology is not supposed to allow users other functionality. So, if an insurer provides a PC with speech software, the computer cannot also be used for e-mail or word processing.

This logic is being followed by public programs like Medicare as well as private insurers. It means that most insurers will cover a PC produced by DynaVox that provides speech software and costs $8,000, but they will not pay for a $300 iPhone and the $150 application needed to do the same thing.

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That leaves individuals with few choices. Get expensive, bulky technology that’s covered by insurance or pay out-of-pocket for more modern and cheaper devices that can travel with you.

Not only are the cheaper devices often more practical, but advocates say using a trendy item like an iPhone can also help a person with a disability feel more accepted, reports The New York Times. To read more click here.