Sunday, April 06, 2008

Insurance Companies Don't Cover Hearing Aids--Let's Change That

Two years ago, my family had hearing aid coverage by our insurance company up to $1,000 per year, thanks to my husband's employer. We now have HMO insurance that doesn't cover hearing aids. I am hoping that my current hearing aids continue to work for several more years.

My cousin recently purchased hearing aids and was so shocked to find out that her insurance company wouldn't fork over a penny and that she would have to foot the bill herself.

That "shock" seems to hit people over and over, as parents write to me and share their dismay of finding out that their insurance company doesn't consider hearing aids a medical device or prosthesis.

So those of you in IL, come and join the rest of us to bring forth some change. We are working with our local senators and representatives to provide hearing aid coverage in Illinois. The time is NOW to make some changes. Tell us your stories of struggling to pay for hearing aids and send it to: parentsofdeafhoh@aol.com (Limit to one page). If you wear hearing aids, or want to purchase them, or know someone who uses hearing aids, join us at this meeting:


Town Hall Meeting
Sunday, April 13th, 2008
1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Hinsdale South H.S.
7401 Clarendon Hills Rd
Darien, Il 60561

Hearing Aids Insurance Coverage Legislation

What's the latest on HB5598 and HB5600?

What can we do to encourage Illinois Legislators to pass Hearing
Aids Insurance Coverage??

We need to raise awareness of this growing problem of many people
not being able to afford to pay for expensive hearing aid(s). Many
deaf and hard of hearing people have gone without hearing aid(s)
because they cannot afford it. There are some deaf and hard of
hearing people that have gone with cheaper hearing aid(s) that are
not suitable for them. There are many parents that could not afford
to buy hearing aid(s) for their deaf and hard of hearing children.

Local State Representatives and Senators will be there to hear our
stories.

Those who wear hearing aids, Parents of deaf and hard of hearing
children, and ALL people who SUPPORT Hearing Aids Insurance Coverage
are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to take the time and attend.

Interpreters and Cart will be provided.

Spread the word to all those who care !!!! The more bodies we have
at the town hall, the STRONGER the message we send to Illinois
Legislators will be !!!

See you all there….

To those who wish to subscribe to HearingAids2008 Yahoogroups
Send an email to this email address, HearingAids2008-
subscribe@yahoogroups.com

In there, you will see already other people in this group sharing
their stories about financial hardship of paying for expensive
hearing aids, will see Hyperlinks of several articles about hearing
aids insurance coverage legislation. Much to read in there.. Come
on and join us there.. We could use your help !!!!

HearingAids2008 group

18 comments:

Jim said...

For the longest time, in Ohio, most health insurance do not cover hearing-aids. Last year or the year before, it was added to my health insurance but only up to $1,500 lifetime and other conditions.

Mine costs almost $6,000 for two. I had to take a loan out so interest was added. My insurance only paid about $900 while Columbus Speech and Hearing was nice enough to allow me to pay the differences between my loan and insurance that was remaining in payment plan.

Thanks for starting this and I will mention your blog in my blog today.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Oh this got to go nationwide! Would you consider if Ill pass?

I have a question to add: Why do most health insurance cover CI but not hearing aids? They are willing to spend 50K than up to 10K. Help me understand this.

When I started my first job out of college. My dog ate my hearing aid. Yup she did. I went to get a new replacement. I was also shocked. The insurance did not cover a buck. I went to the state, they paid full price.

Then we were switched to another insurance I found they only cover hearing aids once a life time for a small amount. My age was 30 at the time and I had gone through seven hearing aids. Sounds like HMO.

Now I am unable to afford the type of hearing aid I need, can't be some cheap hearing aid that was made for old people.

So frustrating... Glad you are doing this. After you are done, stop by WA State.

Suey

Anonymous said...

Hearing Aids should be a national right. It should have been a long time ago . . . and it should be now.

When a person goes through a horrible incident that disfigures him/her, the insurance company will seek to fix it. By that logic, the insurance company is responsible to assist in "acts of God."

As with mega-disasters like Katrina, the insurance companies seek to win . . . and screw you over.

Anonymous said...

90 percent insurances dont cover hearing aid, nothing new, usually VR pay for if you are qualify, if not then write off for your income tax, simple. I pay 2 thousand dollars for both hearing aids, those hearing aid is top model and powerful cuz am almost complete deaf but enough to hear for environmental sound which is good enough for me to ear but write off 100 percent on income tax. Insurance companies will not cover, same goes with glasses.

Anonymous said...

I recently had two new digital hearing aids last week. Surprisingly my employer's insurance paid 100 percent on both aids. I didnt even had to tuggle with insurance.

Fingers said...

look.. Our Deaf community already know that Insurance companies don't cover hearing aids for adult. BUT only for children can allow. Not fair for us (deaf adults) WE knew those hearing aids are VERY expansive that we cannot afford! We are poor NOT rich. We want celebraties as movie stars should help to pay new digital hearing aids for deaf adult people!!

Irishcoda said...

I can't believe in this day and age insurance companies still won't cover hearing aids. WTF???????

kw said...

I've never had hearing aid coverage. Most people are shocked when I tell them this.

The real crime is Medicare doesn't cover hearing aids either. Considering one out of three people over sixty-five has hearing loss, the fact that Medicare doesn't cover hearing aids for our nation's retired people sickens me.

Also, many insurances use Medicare as a guideline of what to cover or not cover, so if Medicare changed their rules on hearing aids, then most insurance companies would follow suit. This is why HLAA and the NAD have been pressuring coverage in Medicare.

I feel badly for people who can't afford them.

kw said...

Here's something we could all do. I wouldn't benefit, but it's a start.

http://www.shhh.org/advocacy/index.asp

The sad thing is, I'm almost at the point of choosing a CI just because of the insurance coverage. During my lifetime, I've spent nearly the cost of a CI out of pocket on hearing aids.

Dory said...

The State of Iowa will get my HAs because of my income level, but I started the process last July and still don't know when I will actually get them. Neither does my Voc Rehab counselor. *sigh*

leahlefler said...

I hope you make some headway in Illinois! Nolan's were $2700 for both aids, not too bad considering some people spend up to $6000 on a pair of aids. Still, we're at the beginning of a lifetime of hearing aid purchases. It is really going to add up over the long run! NY State has a bill up before its legislature, but the bill dies every year. Sigh....

Genevieve Hinson said...

My experience with hearing aids 15 years ago wasn't good. I recently gave them to my dad -- who got them refitted for himself.

My family would like for me to try them again -- but I refuse to pay so much money for something I may hate.

It's such a steep cost to bear -- I don't get WHY insurance companies don't cover this.

I'm not from your area, but would love to see this go national.

Lori Jolliffe said...

We are having the same issues with our hearing aid coverage up here in Canada.
I don't understand why people don't think these are vital!

*Glad to have found your blog:)

Growing Up Deaf in a Hearing World said...

This is a personal issue for me as well. I grew up with wearing a hearing aid and have grown dependant on it. Last year I lost it (strange story.. I put it on my dresser and the next morning it was gone. We have turned the house upside down and have no clue where it got to) First thing I did after accepting the fact it was gone was to contact our insurance and sure enough.. they would not pay for a replacement! I was shocked! As we simply didn't have the money to buy a new one myself, I resign myself to learning how to do without. Then I was told to check with MRS (Michigan Rehabilitation Services). I went in for an interview and I was accepted. They went over our budget and in the end I agreed to pay $265 and MRS would pay the remaining balance. Praise the Lord. I've now had my aid since Feb. and life goes on.

Celeste said...

I am without hearing aids and have no clue how to get any help to get some. I wore my grandfathers until they died and my mother's until they died. Of course neither was fitted for me or did a good job of correcting. I do not have insurance but I do know that insurance never covers, at least none that I have had. Now I am considered un-insurable so...

Anonymous said...

So they say... Some insurance do not cover equipment/device (hearing aids) but do cover medical surgery (Cohlear Implant). That is the problem, this need to be fixed.

Suey

Liz said...

I'm in Alabama. We all need to do something to let the insurance companies know that hearing is as important as seeing, or any other disability. Strange how people can eat until they are so fat that they can't walk and insurance companies will "fix" that....??? Go figure.
Liz

Gentry Knives and More said...

What is the status of this bill. My son has worn hearing aides since he was 3 years old and now that he is a young adult we are finding difficulty getting insurance coverage for the hearing aides. We have written to the congressman and senators regarding this problem in the state of Illinois Just recently saw this blog and we are interested to find out more about this bill.