Military Insurance Says 'No' to Baby Helmets

Once fitted by individual medical centers, the helmets are now regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and some private companies have begun to manufacture them, Proctor said.

The helmets function by providing a safe gap for the flattened parts of the skull to grow. Without continual pressure, Proctor said children's skulls will naturally grow back to a somewhat normal shape.

Proctor acknowledged that the gold standard for studies -- large, prospective and controlled studies -- looking into the helmets have not been completed.

But, "Cranial orthoses are routinely and effectively used to treat persistent severe deformational plagiocephaly," he concluded.

In fact, experts say most insurance companies cover the cranial helmets routinely. Neither Proctor, nor Driscoll, nor Ammanath say they have many problems getting insurers to cover the device.

"Even MassHealth, the state Medicaid, covers it," said Proctor. "There's no insurance in Massachusetts that doesn't cover it; the biggest problem I've had was with the military not covering."

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