New bill requires insurers to cover hearing aid costs

Quinn Fitzpatrick had early access to a hearing aid and was able to develop at an average rate...
Quinn Fitzpatrick had early access to a hearing aid and was able to develop at an average rate thanks to being able to hear.(KOLNKGIN)
Published: May. 24, 2019 at 6:45 PM CDT
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For Nebraskan children hearing isn't necessarily a guarantee. Less than one percent of children are born deaf or hard of hearing. Hearing aids range up to $6000, and need to be replaced every four years or so. But insurers don't cover hearing aids, until yesterday.

7-year-old Quinn has been wearing hearing aids since he was four months old. He's been able to develop at the same rate as everyone else.

"It has mad a major difference in his life," said his father, Jeremy Fitzpatrick. "His life is so much better because he was able to have access to hearing aids early. It's critical that you get to the kids early. You cannot get back those early years of brain development."

Yet, the right to hear isn't easily available to them.

"Legislators have seen first-hand that we have a problem and have come up with a Nebraska common-sense solution," said John Wyvill, the Executive Director of the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing."

Wyvill said that this bill is really just a small investment, and that investing in these children now will pay off in the future. The NCDHH estimates between the cost of hearing aids, special education and other needs, this bill will save a million dollars per child. Said Wyvill:

"Any parent wants to advocate for a better life for their children and their families and this has a chance to make that difference"

For parents like Fitzpatrick, this bill means everyone has had the same shots that Quinn has had.

"This bill is going to give more kids the chance to make sure they still have that same chance to achieve and meet their full potential in life," said Fitzpatrick.

This bill will go into effect in January of 2020. You can connect with the NCDHH on their Facebook page.