Kids’ Hearing Aids Aren’t Covered by Insurance in California. Let’s Change That!
Ask anyone whether children’s hearing aids are covered by insurance in California, and you’ll get the same answer every time.
“Yes, of course they are.”
And it makes intuitive sense, right? Hearing aids should be covered – especially for kids.
But in truth, they’re not:
- Even with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)…
- Even with everything we know about the importance of healthy hearing in developing babies…
… Only 1 in 10 children in California wear hearing aids that are covered by private insurance. And this incredibly small fraction includes babies who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Together, we can change this.
Assembly Bill 598 | Helping California’s Kids “Hear”
California recently introduced Assembly Bill 598 (AB 598) with the sole purpose of requiring that insurance providers cover children’s hearing aids.
If AB 598 successfully passes, California will join 25 other states that already mandate this type of basic coverage for minors.
Passing this legislation isn’t just the right thing to do for kids. It will also have a huge impact on families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing. It costs an average of $1,000 to $3,000 per ear to buy hearing aids, plus subsequent replacements over the next 18 years.
Society also pays a cost for every child who doesn’t receive hearing aids.
In the absence of early intervention, the Center for Disease Control estimates California could end up spending $1 million per child – once you factor in special needs education plus lost productivity, wages, and tax revenues.
But there is something you can do right now to help change this.
What You Can Do to Help
This isn’t the first legislation of its kind to appear in California.
But this time is different.
Just this week, AB 598 passed the Assembly with an unanimous 75-0 vote. And it’s moved onto the California Senate, where it has to go through:
- The Senate Health Committee
- The Senate Appropriations Committee
Thereafter, it still needs to pass a Senate floor vote before going to Governor Newsom.
We’re closer than we’ve ever been before. But we’re not out of the woods yet.
On June 26, the 9 members of the Senate Health Committee will hold a hearing. That’s only a few days away. But you can help make sure AB 598 receives enough support to advance to the Senate Appropriations stage.
It’s very simple and only takes 5 minutes of your time:
- Step 1: Find your local representative using this free online directory. This step is particularly important if your Senator also sits on the Health Committee (you can check here).
- Step 2: Send your rep an email or letter telling them that you support AB 598. If you have a personal connection with someone who wears hearing aids, this is the perfect time to share your story.
- Step 3: If you really want to make an impact, call your representative directly. That way, they’ll HEAR you loud and clear.
- Step 4: Forward this article to everyone you know. The more people who show their support, the better.
Want to Learn More about AB 598?
AB 598 hasn’t become law yet. But every email, letter, and phone call to California’s legislature makes a difference.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get involved:
- Contact us at CCHAT (we’d love to hear from you).
- Visit Let California Kids Hear for more information.