Legislators in both California and Nevada have introduced bills to make it mandatory for insurers to cover the cost of hearing aids for children, according to articles in the Santa Monica Daily Press and Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Assemblymember Richard Bloom introduced AB-598 on February 14 to help children in “privately funded plans” who do not have coverage for hearing aids. According to the Santa Monica Daily’s article, families with incomes over $40,000 don’t qualify for free hearing aids, leaving many middle-class families to foot the entire cost of a hearing care treatment plan.
“We believe that a child’s ability to hear should not be based on their family’s income,” Bloom was quoted as saying in the article. “Yet here in California, thousands of families have to pay for their child’s hearing aids out of pocket. Some are forced to forego hearing aids altogether while others have to delay maintenance or replacements.”
In Nevada, State Sen. Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, introduced Senate Bill 90 on February 4, that would, among other things, require health insurers in Nevada to cover children’s hearing aids. During the session in which the bill was introduced, a mother of two children with hearing loss told the commerce and labor committee that she had considered drastic measures such as moving out of state or selling her house just so her children could hear, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal article.
The state of Idaho unanimously voted in January to make children’s hearing aid coverage mandatory and Illinois voted in September to mandate replacement hearing aid coverage every three years for children under 18.
Source: Santa Monica Daily Press, Las Vegas Review-Journal