Mission & Facts

A quick, one-page overview of the problem, our goals, and the facts on insurance coverage in California.

Our Mission

WE ARE A PARENT-LED INITIATIVE, WHOSE GOAL IS TO SECURE INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CHILDREN’S HEARING AIDS IN CA.

In California, health insurance plans and policies are not required to cover hearing aids for children. As a result, only 1 in 10 families on privately funded plans have coverage. The other families are forced to either forego hearing aids for their child or pay the steep costs out-of-pocket. California currently lags behind 25 other states that require private insurance coverage for pediatric hearing aids.

Join us in our mission to secure insurance coverage for pediatric hearing aids for children and their families in California.

Numerous national, state, and local organizations have supported providing children access to hearing aids, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, California Teachers Association, California Children’s Hospital Association, California Hands & Voices and organizations throughout the state.

The Facts

6 of every 1,000 children in the U.S. are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. [1]

Hearing aids can cost up to $6,000 per pair and need to be replaced every 3-5 years, which results in a cost of over $40,000 by the time the child reaches 21.[3]

Newborns should be screened for hearing loss by age 1 month, diagnosed by 3 months and receive early interventions by 6 months.[2]

The estimated cost of special education and loss of productivity when a single child who is deaf or hard of hearing does not receive early intervention is $1M[4]

The first 6 months of a child’s life are the most critical in forming auditory pathways in the brain to hear.

Twenty-five states in the U.S. mandate hearing aid coverage for children, yet California is not one of them.

Only 1 in 10 kids have hearing aids covered by their private health plan in California.[5]

[1] American Academy Of Pediatrics

[2] Center for Disease and Control

[3] Volta Voices (2002)

[4] Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, Hearing Loss in Children

[5] California Health Benefits Review Program

Legislation

LetCAKidsHear supports legislation requiring insurance coverage for children’s hearing aids that is being championed by California Assemblyman Richard Bloom.  Assemblymember Richard Bloom recently introduced AB 598 legislation that would require health plans to cover pediatric hearing aids.

This legislation would require health plans to cover an initial assessment, new hearing aids every four years, new ear molds, new hearing aids if alterations to the existing hearing aids cannot meet the needs of the child, a new hearing aid if the existing one is no longer working, fittings, adjustments, auditory training, and maintenance of the hearing aids.

You can learn more about this bill and access bill text, votes, and analyses at the following link:

Click here to see list of organizations who support the legislation.

CHBRP

The California Health Benefits Review Program provides independent analysis of proposed health insurance benefit mandates and repeals. You can find analyses of AB 598 here:

AB 598 (2019)