Bill for insurance coverage of hearing loss in Ohio

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New legislation is being proposed in the Ohio State Senate that would require insurance companies to provide coverage for hearing loss. The proposed law (Senate Bill 257) is being sponsored by Senator Edna Brown, a Democratic member of the Ohio Senate.

The bill, which was given its first hearing in the Ohio Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee in early February, would require that insurance companies providing basic health coverage in the state must add a minimum of USD 1,500 per ear to their plans, to be used for hearing aids and to pay for hearing related services. Currently, many insurers consider hearing aids to be elective treatment and do not cover them as part of basic health coverage. “I believe it is time for Ohio to join the 20 other states that provide coverage for hearing aid devices and related services through standard insurance plans,” Brown said. “The cost reaches into the thousands of dollars. For many families, these costs represent a significant portion of their household income.” She added that “the high costs of hearing aids are a significant barrier that can often prevent someone from receiving proper treatment.”

Up to 20% of Ohioans may suffer from hearing loss related problems. Nationwide, some 10% of American children aged 6 to 19 have some degree of hearing loss, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sixteen states require that plans cover hearing aids for children, and three states require coverage for both children and adults (Arkansas, New Hampshire and Rhode Island), according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Source: Ohio Senate; Dispatch Politics

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