Hearing aid coverage for children approved

Lawmakers gave final approval May 23 to a bill that requires most health insurance plans to pay for hearing aids for young Nebraskans.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist03' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Carol Blood'>Sen. Carol Blood</a>
Sen. Carol Blood

LB15, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Carol Blood, adopts the Children of Nebraska Hearing Aid Act. The bill requires most health plans to cover expenses associated with hearing aids for Nebraskans younger than 19, including evaluation, fitting, programming, repairs and auditory rehabilitation and training.

A hearing impairment is defined as an impairment diagnosed by an otolaryngologist with an auditory assessment completed by a licensed audiologist. A hearing aid must be purchased from a licensed audiologist with medical clearance from an otolaryngologist in order to be covered.

Small business group health plans are exempt from the bill’s provisions. Insurance companies that can show that expenses associated with hearing aids would exceed 1 percent of premium dollars collected per year will be exempt for one plan year.

LB15 caps covered expenses at $3,000 over four years and will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Lawmakers passed the bill on a 48-0 vote.

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