Parents of children with hearing loss push for insurance coverage of hearing aids
LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - Hearing can be a lifelong struggle with the need for assistance from hearing aids, and paying for those hearing aids can be challenging for parents with children who have hearing difficulties.
Listening and speech exercises are routine for 4-year-old Davis Moody since his mother Kimberly Moody learned he had partial hearing loss shortly after he was born.
“Davis can hear somewhat out of his right ear, it’s not just what you and I are used to,” said Moody, a Biloxi resident.
Courtney Turner works with children like Davis at the USM Center for Communication and Development at the Long Beach and Hattiesburg campuses. Turner said it’s critical for a child with hearing loss to get help as quickly as possible.
“Once a child is born with a hearing loss, they’re already behind,” Turner said.
Children’s hearing aids can cost up to $2,000 each. In Mississippi, Medicaid will cover the cost, but private insurance isn’t required to.
“When we were told sorry that we’re sorry insurance doesn’t cover this it was a huge shock to us. I mean, how can you not cover something so important,” Moody said.
“Unfortunately cost can be a barrier to these families getting hearing aids for their children immediately,” Turner said.
Despite the cost, Moody doesn’t see letting her son go without a hearing aid as an option.
“Davis needs that hearing for speech, communication and development. Even as a young child he was always behind on his milestones,” Moody said. “It doesn’t only affect his hearing and speech, it affected all of his fine motor skills.”
Although a Senate bill this session to require private insurance to pay for children’s hearing aids failed to make it out of committee, a bill is still alive in the House that would enable state employees under the state’s health insurance plan to have hearing aids covered for their children.
“Hopefully if we can get these state employees on board, then eventually the insurance might realize that it’s not going to take a ton out of everyone’s pockets in Mississippi,” Moody said. “If we can get the state insurance approved, then everyone else might follow suit in the future.”
According to Turner, 25 other states including Louisiana have measures in place requiring private insurance companies to cover the cost of hearing aids for children.
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