Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So how much does it cost to cover hearing aids?

Several states have published research findings about the financial impact to insured residents as a result of offering hearing aid insurance benefits to children.  

A few cents today could not only help improve the lives of hearing impaired children, but has the potential to save local schools and tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Here's just a few examples:

North Carolina: $0.03 per month increase in insurance premium on insured residents.

California: $0.03 per month average increase in health insurance premium increase

Wisconsin: $0.17 cents per privately insured person, per month for hearing aids and cochlear implants.

South Carolina: proposed legislation is estimated at $0.35 annually or approximately $0.03 per month increase in premiums.

Pay this today...                                                                 ...or pay this later:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hawaii lists hearing aids as Essential Health Benefit

October 1st the State of Hawaii published their list of benchmark benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), Included in those benefits is coverage for hearing aids. The benefits ensure that people will be able to receive hearing aids for each ear every 60 months. Also covered is routine hearing exams, newborn hearing screenings and pediatric hearing screening.

Hawaii Benchmark Benefits under the PPACA (Oct 01, 2012)
View the Hawaii Benchmarks Benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

What are 'Essential Health Benefits'?

A set of health care service categories that must be covered by certain plans, starting in 2014.
The Affordable Care Act ensures health plans offered in the individual and small group markets, both inside and outside of the Affordable Insurance Exchanges (Exchanges), offer a comprehensive package of items and services, known as essential health benefits. Essential health benefits must include items and services within at least the following 10 categories: ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

Insurance policies must cover these benefits in order to be certified and offered in Exchanges, and all Medicaid state plans must cover these services by 2014.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sample Letter to legislator

Your Return Address
City, State, Zip Code
Phone Number

The Honorable [Insert Full Name Here]
City, State, Zip Code

RE: Health Insurance Hearing Aid Coverage for Children
Dear Representative [or Senator] [insert last name]
As your constituent, I am writing to ask for your assistance in establishing legislation requiring a state insurance mandate to provide hearing aid insurance coverage for children. 
The establishment and passage of such a bill should require health benefit plan coverage for hearing aids for children with medically necessary hearing loss birth through age 21, every 36 months. We know that the most important development of a young child occurs in the first few years of life, and our obligation to the child does not end there. Our state priorities need to reflect that knowledge.  Currently there are twenty other states, including Oregon, that have passed legislation requiring insurance coverage for hearing aids for children. It is time that Washington does its part. States that have studied the impact on insurance premiums have found that it often only costs a few cents per month to provide this coverage for children.
As parents, educators and professionals, we understand that investing in the early years of a child’s life saves the taxpayers money in the future. Yet, when a child's hearing needs are not identified and/or when they do not receive early intervention, special education for a child with hearing loss costs our local schools on average an additional $420,000 for 12 years of education.
I urge you to support and co-sponsor the creation and passage of such important legislation. Thank you for your time and consideration of this request.  Your support of children who have hearing loss is greatly appreciated. 
[Your name]

Friday, November 16, 2012

Your Help is Needed!

We believe that all children, regardless of a family's income, should have the right to hear, learn, and reach their fullest potential.

There are currently 20 states, including Oregon, that require health plans to cover some costs of hearing aids for children.

Image courtesy  anankkml:
Ø       Early identification of hearing loss and treatment in newborns has a dramatic and positive impact on speech development, language development, and learning. Even a six-month delay in treatment of newborns can make the difference between a special education and a mainstream education. According to a 1993 study by the Marion Downs Center, children who do not require special education save a school system as much as $348,000 during a 12-year educationSource: Downs, MP, Universal Newborn Hearing Screening: The Colorado Study, International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 1995, page 32.

Ø      According to the CDC, during the 1999–2000 school year, the total cost in the United States for special education programs for children who were deaf or hard of hearing was $652 million, or $11,006 per child. In 2012, that figure is undoubtedly MUCH higher.

Ø      Children who do not receive early intervention cost schools an additional $420,000 and are faced with overall lifetime costs of $1 million in special education, lost wages, and health complications, according to a 1995 study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. The Department of Education indicates that over 70,000 students, ages 6-21, received special education services in 2002 alone, due to their hearing loss

We strongly urge you to please help support our efforts and ask that you sign our online petition and pass it along to your friends and neighbors.

Your support of children with hearing loss is truly appreciated!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) refers to the practice of screening every newborn for hearing loss prior to hospital discharge. Infants not passing the screening receive a diagnostic evaluation before three months and, when necessary, are enrolled in early intervention programs by six months of age. All 50 states have EHDI laws or voluntary compliance programs that screen hearing.

Centers for Disease Control: Hearing Loss in Children

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ASHA Podcast: Infants and Hearing Aids

Researcher Mary Pat Moeller, PhD and a parent discuss why consistency of use is so important, and other valuable information and tips that can help parents help their baby-and themselves-adjust when the child wears hearing aids.

Click link here to download the podcast from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA):