Over 30 States Require Private Coverage of Children’s Hearing Aids
Come 2024, over thirty states will require that all or some private individual and group health insurance plans include coverage for children’s hearing aids & services – all vary based on age, dollar amount, and/or frequency of coverage — through a state insurance benefit mandate (27 states) or by way of the state’s Essential Health Benefits (EHB) benchmark selection (26 states).
California is not one of them.
- Georgia^ (2018)
- Illinois (2018)
- Missouri (2022)
- Montana^ (2022)
- Nebraska^ (2020)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York*
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- Texas (2017)
- Vermont (effective 2024)
- Virginia^ (effective 2024)
Note: Nine states (Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington) passed some form of hearing aid mandate after the 2012 provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect.
* = included as part of EHB benchmark selection, but no state mandate (4 states)
^ = state mandate does not apply to EHB benchmark (5 states)
States considering legislation to require children’s hearing aids: During the 2023 legislative cycle Hawaii, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Washington are or will be considering legislation to mandate health plans cover hearing aids and services for children.
States with state-directed hearing aid programs: Florida (2023), Indiana (2014), Iowa (2007), Missouri (2019), Utah (2021), and Wyoming (2012) have created narrow hearing aid assistance programs for children, similar to California’s Hearing Aid Coverage for Children Program (HACCP) launched in 2021, which is separate from a child’s insurance plan and medical home. In addition, Georgia passed a mandate in 2018 after having limited success with a state administered program.
A note about other recent children’s hearing aid coverage changes: In 2022, Mississippi law removed an exclusion of hearing aids for children in insurance. In 2020, an Idaho regulatory change clarified that hearing aids for children are not excluded from coverage.
SOURCE: Children Now and Let California Kids Hear analysis building on previous research by:
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Center for Consumer
Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) –
- Hearing Loss Association of America – https://www.hearingloss.org/hearinghelp/
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association –
- American Academy of Audiology – https://www.audiology.org/wpcontent/uploads/2022/02/State-Hearing-Health-Insurance-Mandates-2022.pdf
- National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management –
- A. Grace, et al., The ACA’s Pediatric Essential Health Benefit Has Resulted In A
State-By-State Patchwork of Coverage With Exclusions, Health Affairs, 2014 Dec;
33(12): 2136–2143 – https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0743
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) says: “Children who are deaf or hard of hearing and receive early and ongoing educational and audiological services have fewer developmental delays and develop better communication skills. All children can begin learning language at birth, so the sooner hearing loss is identified, the better the outcome for your child.”