Hearing aids should be covered by insurance
Almost 10 years ago, the slogan “Can you hear me now?” was an advertising campaign by a cellphone company seeking more customers.
However, real hearing loss is a major concern for many individuals and families. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 40 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. This isolates individuals and impacts their quality of life.
Yet, in spite of this, health insurance, including Medicare, does not cover the cost of the hearing instruments.
If you lose a leg or an arm, insurance will likely cover the cost of prosthesis. If you lose the ability to perform sexually, more likely your Viagra is covered. Hearing loss affects everything from family relationships and employment to mental and physical health. Yet hearing aids are considered elective, much like plastic surgery or liposuction.
But life with poor hearing can leave people depressed and put their safety at risk. Many people who need hearing aids cannot afford them. Out-of-pocket expense runs between $1,000 and $4,000. Only three states cover the cost of hearing aids. New York is not one of them.
This lack of benefit by the insurance industry is unfair and it does not make sense. Citizens young and old should put pressure on their elective officials to change laws to include hearing aids in health insurance coverage. Then individuals getting these devices through insurance can say, “Yes, I can hear you now!”
W. John Kozinski
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