A proposed bill in Connecticut would require insurance companies to cover the costs of powered wheelchairs for those who need them.

The concept almost hits home for a Norwich business owner.

Phil Pavone, owner of AZ Pawn in Norwich, is the founder of AZ Pawn Gift of Mobility. It has collected, refurbished and donated approximately 580 wheelchairs and motorized scooters for about a decade, saving approximately $ 2 million for those in need.

"He is easily overwhelmed and frustrated because he wants to play an active role in the education of our children …" wrote Pavone in a letter sent by a woman about her husband. "While he's trying to stay positive and do his best, he exists, he does not live."

Pavone read this note to the Insurance and Real Estate Board on Thursday in favor of Senate's proposed bill 15 that would require "medical insurance for motorized wheelchairs, including wheelchairs motorized vehicles, the repair of these wheelchairs and the replacement of their batteries ".

"These chairs are a boon for these people," said Pavone.

Insurance will often not provide a power chair, including for veterans, according to Pavone. He even helped a survivor of the Holocaust.

"The Nazis broke their legs to the point of no longer being able to walk and were given an ordinary wheelchair … because of her age, she is 90 years old and she does not have the strength to go nowhere, "said Pavone. .

Democratic Senator Cathy Osten of Sprague introduced the bill with Senators Steve Cassano and Heather Somers.

Osten submitted to the committee information from the Office of Legislative Research stating: "Neither federal laws nor federal laws explicitly require that health insurance policies cover motorized wheelchairs."

In a statement, Osten said: "They are brave, independent people, who are really in very difficult situations, who do not receive a lot of attention and who do not have the resources to fight against the companies. # 39; insurance. Once a decision is made, they live with that decision. "

For the bill to go forward, the committee should make a favorable recommendation by March 21.