Friday, November 2, 2007

Advocacy for A04731 or S 171

As any parent of a kid with hearing loss knows, insurance does NOT cover or help with hearing aid costs. With each aid costing around $3000, and needing to be replaced every 3-6 years, this can really add up for a family. If you do not have medical insurance and qualify for medicaid, you are covered. If you are a working family with health insurance, you're out of luck. Insurance will pay to diagnose the condition of pre-lingual hearing loss, but will not pay to treat the condition.

There is a bill before the NY State Legislature at the moment which would require insurance companies to reimburse families up to $1000 for hearing aids every three years (every 2 years for kids under 16). While this won't cover the cost of hearing aids, it certainly would help! The list of state Senators is at: and the assembly is at A sample letter is below:

Dear Honorable ( Assemblyman or Senator )

Legislation has been introduced that would require health insurance coverage of hearing aids ( Use A04731 if you are writing to your Assemblyperson) for all New Yorkers. I am writing to ask you to vote YES for this legislation.

Hearing Aids are extraordinarily important for people with hearing loss, and they have significant implications for a person's economic, mental, and physical well being. Studies have found that people who have significant difficulty communicating are often under- employed and are more susceptible to a host of emotional and physical disorders. Thus, the failure to cover hearing aids not only penalizes people with hearing loss, but also costs the government significant amounts stemming from under - utilization of its work force and increased spending on the other needs of employees with hearing loss. By supporting this bill you are ensuring that all people will have equal access to communication with their fellow citizens.

We all understand the importance of hearing aids to:
1. Children who need to acquire listening skills in order to develop spoken language.
2. Students who are in a school environment to achieve their greatest potential through education.
3. Those in the workplace who need to maintain their connection to their associates.
4. Senior people who need to interact and socialize with others through spoken communication.

There are currently one in ten people ( one in three for those over 65 ) with a hearing problem. It is important that our nation must begin to work through equitable coverage policies for aural rehabilitation services and hearing aids in a concerted manner by both public and private insurance payers. There is every reason to believe that this would be a very low cost benefit and should not noticeably affect premium or costs of doing business for the insurance providers or HMOs. We are only asking that hearing aids be on the same parity as eye glasses, etc..

Thank you,
your name

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