ATLANTA - Hearing loss is the most prevalent birth defect for children. And believe it or not, most insurance carriers in Georgia didn't cover the cost of a hearing device. That is until parents pushed back. But January marks a big change.
In full disclosure, my daughter wears a hearing aid and I tell you I nearly fell off my chair when I was told by my insurance company, 'No, we don't cover hearing aids for children.' Because - get this is - it was considered cosmetic. When children can't hear they fall behind in so many ways. And boy are they expensive.
Hearing aids can cost up to $6,000. And you can imagine how often kids need new ones. They lose them. They break them. Yes, the dog eats them. And they simply grow out of them. If all goes well they'll last 3 to 5 years.
Well, two moms with hearing impaired children about six years ago pushed back, and they got the job done. Starting this January, private insurance companies now cover the cost of hearing aids.
The "Hearing Aid Coverage for Children Act" covers young people 18 and under. You can get coverage for a replacement for one hearing aid per hearing-impaired ear every 48 months - or the length of the warranty. And, it's not to exceed $3,000. It also covers evaluation, fittings, and maintenance that would include repairs.
HEARING AID COVER FOR CHILDREN ACT
- 48 months or length of warranty
- Up to $3,000 per ear
- evaluations, maintenance
This is really a big deal. for every child with hearing issues who doesn't get a hearing aid, it costs the state up to $420,000 through age 18 for special education costs. Hearing aids for children over that same period cost about $40,000. Big difference.
You can learn more by following this link to the law: Hearing Aid Legislation.