2020 Brings Big Changes to Hearing Aid Laws

2020 Brings Big Changes to Hearing Aid Laws

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Hearing aids are one of the few important medical devices that are not usually covered by insurance, but if current legislative trends continue, that could change.

When you live in the US, it can be difficult to know what compensation options are available to cover hearing aid expenses. But a host of new state laws out this year has suggested that if your hearing practice exists in Illinois, Connecticut or Maine, access to hearing aids for your patients is going to be improved.

Here’s a breakdown of the changes in each of these states.

Illinois: Optional coverage for hearing aids

Illinois law mandates insurance companies to provide optional hearing aid cover of up to $2,500 in hearing aids.

Bought forward by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, the law would require insurance companies to provide compensation for hearing aids and any related services to all people when a hearing care provider recommends them.

“Hearing aids are often a burdensome expense to seniors who are on a limited income to begin with. The goal of this legislation is to ensure this medically necessary equipment is financially accessible to Illinois residents.” Bertino-Tarrant said.

Insurance companies are expected to cover a maximum of $2,500 every 24 months for hearing aid under the new law. the individual the option of choosing more expensive devices, but the extra expense must be paid out of pocket.

Connecticut: A hearing aid at any price for adults every two years

11.0% of Connecticut adults have a hearing loss, according to figures by the CDC.

In compliance with prior law, health insurance policies were permitted, to restrict the coverage of hearing aid to $1,000 within 24 months, and for those under 12 only.  Nonetheless, in May, it was concluded that the compulsory hearing aid provision of the State for children 12 and under was “discriminatory” and in violation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

However, pursuant to a new law adopted this year, insurers can no longer use age restrictions in order to avoid compulsory hearing aid coverage. The law codifies an earlier report from the Connecticut Insurance Department that specifies that insurance companies cover both adult and children’s hearing aids. Now, the new law mandates one hearing aid per ear every two-years, regardless of cost.

Maine: Both Medicaid and private health insurers required to cover hearing aids

A law which entered into force on New Year’s Day makes Maine the fifth state to mandate private health insurers to provide hearing aid coverage.

The proposal, which is the result of a bill introduced by Rep. James Handy in 2019, calls for private health insurance companies and MaineCare, the state Medicaid Program, to provide hearing aids up to $3,000 every three years.

173,000 individuals in Maine certain level of hearing loss, ay figures released by the state’s own Bureau of Insurance in 2014. State law previously mandated help only for children under 18, and restricted the cost of that insurance to $1,400.

YMMV (your mileage may vary)

Despite these improvements to some state hearing aid laws, your practice’s mileage may vary when it comes to health insurance coverage. Every state has its own coverage requirements, but some insurance plans are even exempt from these requirements. We recommend learning about your state’s specific insurance policies with regards to hearing aid coverage to see if they include state-mandated hearing aid insurance benefits.

If your hearing practice is located in one of the states featured in this post, it’s in your best interest to rely that information to your potential customers, who may be living with untreated hearing loss and unable to afford the right treatment.

Insurance companies consider hearing aids optional. Yet you’re probably aware that hearing aids are essential for anyone with hearing loss. If they don’t have them, quality of life drastically drops; people with hearing loss feel depressed and have difficulty engaging with family, friends and people in their community. Hearing loss impacts everything emotional and physical health.

These recent laws are hopefully an acknowledgement of the need for more hearing aid coverage nationwide.

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