Hearing Aid Insurance: Coverage for a Necessity Author: Piah    Posted under: Health InsuranceHealth Insurance TypesHealth Insurance questions answered


Most of us take for granted the gift of hearing.  While the majority could use their ears to hear, there are those who, due to complications of a syndrome, genetics, or simply old age, need cochlear implants or hearing aids to enable them to hear.

The problem lies therein.  Most people who need it cannot afford the high cost of surgery, as well as hearing aids.  Although an array of options for hearing aids are available in the market right now, there are those whose hearing impairment requires them to have the more advanced (thereby more expensive) ones.  Some have resulted to searching for used hearing aids over the Internet, at their own risk.  Some, due to the progressive loss of hearing, may also need to upgrade their hearing aids once every 2 years, causing for them to spend from a thousand dollars to four thousand dollars, to replace the one they currently have. It is a very fragile device as well: it is not water resistant, and can break easily if stepped on.  Even the natural wax or ear drainage of our ears can destroy it.  Imagine having to replace these things using money from your own pocket in the case of any damage or loss.  It is going to cripple the person in need of the hearing aid.

Insurance companies still refuse to cover them on the grounds that too many people are now in need of it.  While companies cover the cost of cochlear implants for those who are hearing impaired, hearing aids are not part of the coverage.  This is because cochlear implants are considered as prosthetics, while hearing aids are not. Although Medicare provides medical assistance to those people over 65, the cost of hearing aids is not covered by this federal program, either.

The debate about having coverage for hearing aids- replacing a damaged or lost hearing aid, is still something that is ongoing.  Some states have mandated that health benefits should include hearing aids, albeit only for children.  Among these states are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Oregon.  Only Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island require coverage for both children and adults, while Wisconsin provides coverage for both hearing aids and cochlear implants for children.*  The requirements for health benefits vary per state.  It depends on the age of the insured, the period wherein the benefit is applicable, the eligibility for coverage, and the amount of coverage.

Sources:
*http://www.asha.org/advocacy/state/issues/ha_reimbursement.htm
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/hearing-aid-insurance.html
http://deafness.about.com/cs/hearingaids/a/insuranceaids.htm
http://deafness.about.com/cs/hoth/a/hearingaidprice.htm

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