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Health Bill Doesn’t Cover Hearing Aids. What else is new?

Posted Mar 22 2010 9:07pm

I don’t get very political in my blog except when it comes to hearing usually. But we just passed a health care plan yesterday that most likely won’t cover hearing aids.  See the Huffington Post here on that very question.

“A new 2.9 percent excise tax on medical devices would be lowered to 2.3 percent. But it will be broadened to apply to some lower-cost devices it hadn’t initially covered, though hearing aids, contact lenses and other items consumers buy retail would be excluded.”

However, thanks to the tireless work of so many advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing, there is currently a bill before congress that will allow tax credits of up to $500.00 per hearing aid every five years, for those who make under $200,000 annually. I sure hope it passes.

Clearly, with the average cost of hearing aids running between $1,000 to $4,000 per aid that’s not enough, but it is at least something.  See here for more details and be sure to write your representatives.

This is long over due.  With the Better Hearing Institute’s latest report on the negative impact of hearing loss on family income, plus the fact that only 25% of all people who could benefit from hearing aids can actually afford them, it seems hearing aids are a definite necessity for those in need.  They should not be lumped in with contact lenses for heaven’s sake.  They are NOT a cosmetic upgrade.

While I do not begrudge the fact that Medicare annually covers six ( or is it twelve?)   prosthetic bras at over $200.00 a pop per year for women who have undergone mastectomies, it’s hard to understand the justification for not covering hearing aids.  Breast prosthesis ARE cosmetic.  Yes, I know it affects your self-esteem, but so does hearing loss.  Anyway like I said, I am in support of the coverage– it’s just that hearing aids are important too and up til now this issue has been largely ignored by the federal government– like pretty much all deaf issues.

We’re moving in the right direction now.  :-)   I hope this bill is just the first step — not the first and last step.  We don’t want to be forgotten in the shuffle.

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