Plan would make hearing aids more accessible for families
Rep. Zorn delivered testimony before the House Insurance and Financial Services Committee today in support of his bipartisan plan to make hearing aids more accessible for children who need them.
Hearing loss is the third top public health issue in America, and one of the most frequently occurring birth defects in United States. In Michigan, about 400 children annually are born with hearing impairments or will acquire one before starting school.
Zorn’s legislation, House Bill 4944, would ensure Michigan children’s health insurance covers treatment for hearing loss through age 19, and up to $3,000 in coverage per hearing aid every 36 months.
According to the state’s Department of Education, approximately 2,7000 students in Michigan have hearing loss. The Lenawee County legislator said hearing disability treatments should be covered just like every other disability children may face.
“Much like the loss of vision, hearing disabilities create a profound disadvantage for the development of our Michigan youth,” said Zorn during today’s testimony. “However, unlike vision where insurance companies offer vision coverage for children, some insurance companies do not offer hearing coverage, putting our children at a disadvantage.
“Early intervention of hearing aids for children significantly increases academic success and decreases long-term costs related to educational interventions and mental health services.”
Insurance actuaries and underwriters estimate the increase to policyholder’s premium costs would be just 10 to 17 cents per month but would save the state government approximately $650,000 per individual in lifetime support.
Zorn introduced the measure alongside his colleague, Rep. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills). Her bill, House Bill 4936, ensures coverage is available for audiological exams, hearing aid evaluations and maintenance, and audiologist or speech-language pathology services.
“Child access to hearing aids isn’t a partisan issue, I’m pleased to have Rep. Steckloff’s bipartisan support in our mutual effort,” Zorn said.
Zorn has introduced similar legislative measures in previous years, but the change has yet to be signed into state law.
PHOTO INFORMATION: Rep. Zorn delivers testimony in support of his bill before the House Insurance and Financial Services Committee on Thursday.
House Bill 4944, would ensure Michigan children’s health insurance covers treatment for hearing loss through age 19, and up to $3,000 in coverage per hearing aid every 36 months. Insurance actuaries and underwriters estimate the increase to policyholders’ premium costs would be just 10 to 17 cents per month but would save the state approximately $650,000 per individual in lifetime support.
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