The number one call for help that HLAA receives – via phone, email and in person – is financial assistance for the purchase of hearing aids. One son called for mom who is in her 80’s, who had two hearing aids until they both died at the same time. They were struggling to find a way to replace them. Most seniors who age into their hearing loss are simply floored when they learn that Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in March 2010 by President Barack Obama. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the law’s goal is to make health insurance available and affordable to people and small groups, such as employees of small businesses and organizations, who are uninsured. While some provisions of the law have already taken effect, many more provisions will be implemented in the coming years.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is interested in gathering more information about hearing aid compatible (HAC) phones.
HLAA is thrilled to learn that on October 1, the State of Hawaii published their list of benchmark benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
WASHINGTON, DC, May 24, 2012 — On May 16, the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus (FCHHC) hosted a Hearing Forum and Reception for Representatives, Congressional staff and others interested in hearing health. At the event which was organized by Hearing Industries Assn (HIA), visitors could have their hearing screened by hearing professionals, test the volume of their Music Player ear buds using a testing dummy provided by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Assn (ASHA), and participate in a video otoscope demonstration using equipment provided by MedRX, Largo, FL.
Hearing Loss Association of America along with nine other organizations representing people with hearing loss, parents of children with hearing loss, hearing health professionals and hearing aid manufacturers sponsored a briefing in honor of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus (CHHC) on February 8, 2012. The CHHC has been reinvigorated this year by Representatives Tom Latham, R-IA, and Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY. The briefing attracted a record 125 Congressional staffers and members of hearing health organizations to examine “how the Military and Veterans Administration are handling the surge in hearing loss and tinnitus cases related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Hearing Loss Association of America and 17 other national and local organizations sent a strong message to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius urging inclusion of hearing health care under the Affordable Care Act. Our letter was sent in response to the bulletin on Essential Health Care Benefits that was open to the public for comments. Spearheaded by the Hearing Access Program in New York, HLAA was eager to support the effort that could result in more people getting access to affordable hearing aids and hearing health services.
Hearing Loss Association of America supports the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act of 2011 (HR 2140). This legislation would allow Medicare beneficiaries the option of going directly to a qualified audiologist for hearing and balance diagnostic tests. Currently, Medicare requires that beneficiaries with hearing loss or balance disorders obtain a physician referral before seeing an audiologist.
In our June 24, 2011 blog, we mentioned that HLA-Georgia members Cathy Fletcher, Jeff Bonnell, and Anne Taylor took advantage of the HLAA Convention in DC to visit their congressional representatives’ offices on Capitol Hill. During those visits, our advocates spoke about why people with hearing loss need the kind of financial support toward the purchase of hearing aids that the hearing aid tax credit legislation, HR 1479, would provide. We are thrilled to report their visits produced results: Representative Hank Johnson (4th District, GA) has agreed to co-sponsor the tax credit bill. Kudos to Georgia advocates Cathy, Jeff, and Ann!
Visiting the DC area for HLAA Convention 2011 afforded members of Hearing Loss Association of Texas an opportunity to visit Capitol Hill. Lois Johnson, Teri Wathen and Ray Wathen met with AG Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) and HIA (Hearing Industries Association) representatives for the presentation of a plaque to Representative Pete Olson (R-TX). The plaque commemorated an event held to thank Rep. Olson for his support of the hearing aid tax credit. The event, which attracted 130 Texas tax credit supporters, was held in Sugar Land, Texas, in August 2010. Rep. Olson emphasized the importance of local efforts nationwide in support of the bill, and thanked the volunteers for their dedication to a good cause. He also emphasized that he will continue to champion the bill in the House on behalf of everyone with hearing loss, especially the folks back home.