Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Monday, December 1, 2014
Auditor: Hearing Aid Insurance Mandate Not Needed
By News Release @ 7:27 PM :: 3629 Views :: Health Care

Study of Proposed Mandatory Health Insurance for Hearing Aids

Hawaii State Auditor Report No. 14-10, October, 2014

Mandatory health insurance for hearing aids is not recommended

In Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 34, Senate Draft 1, the 2014 Legislature asked the Auditor to assess the social and financial effects of mandating health insurance coverage for hearing aids, as proposed in Senate Bill No. 309 (SB), Senate Draft 1 (SD), of the 2014 regular session. SB No. 309, SD 1, defines hearing aids as “any wearable instrument or device and any parts, attachments, or accessories, including earmold, but excluding batteries and cords, designed or offered for the purpose of aiding or compensating impaired human hearing.” Hearing aids may be used to treat several types of hearing loss. In Hawai‘i, approximately 55 infants with hearing loss are born annually.

Because SB No. 309, SD 1, would not change the status quo concerning coverage for hearing aids, we recommend the Legislature not pass the measure.

Social and financial impacts would be insignificant

Our analysis on the social and financial impacts of mandating health insurance coverage for hearing aids is based on survey responses, literature review, and interviews. In addition to the Children with Special Health Needs Branch of the Department of Health’s (DOH) Family Health Services Division and the American Academy of Audiology, we sent surveys to four private health insurance companies:  Hawai‘i Medical Service Association (HMSA), Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i (Kaiser), University Health Alliance (UHA), and Hawai‘i Medical Assurance Association (HMAA).  HMSA, UHA, and HMAA now provide coverage for hearing aids, and Kaiser plans to begin covering hearing aids in January 2015.

Although coverage may be inadequate to cover the full cost of hearing aids, which may place a financial hardship on some patients needing treatment, SB No. 309, SD 1, would not require insurers to cover full costs of hearing aids. Because insurers already provide coverage or plan to start providing coverage in 2015, the measure is likely to have minimal effect on insurance premium costs.

Proposed bill’s lack of coverage parameters is problematic

SB No. 309, SD 1, has no limits on coverage, such as age, frequency for replacing, or costs covered by insurers, which other states have identified. Without such coverage parameters, the measure as written merely requires that insurers provide for the costs of hearing aids, subject to deductibles, copayments and maximum payment limits set by insurers.

As of August 2014, 20 states had laws requiring that private health insurers provide coverage for hearing aids. Of those, every state had at least one coverage limitation based on at least one of three factors: the age of the beneficiary, the frequency at which insurers must provide hearing aids to beneficiaries, or the dollar cost the insurer must cover. Hawai‘i would have none of these.

Agency response

On October 15, 2014, we transmitted a draft of this report to the Departments of Health and Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The departments opted not to respond.

Read ... Full Report


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii